U.S President Donald Trump nearly provoked North Korea into war with a single tweet, the renowned journalist Bob Woodward said in an interview with "CBS Sunday Morning" that aired last Sunday.
In the interview, Woodward discussed his new book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," and said Trump was fixated on the US's spending $3.5 billion a year to station troops in South Korea.
"I don't know why they're there," Trump told top officials during a meeting, according to Woodward's explosive new book. "Let's get them out."
Secretary of Defense James Mattis told Trump in another meeting that troops were there to "prevent World War III," the book says.
Woodward told CBS the most "dangerous" moment of Trump's standoff with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came when the president went to produce another provocative tweet.
"He drafts a tweet saying, 'We are going to pull our dependents from South Korea — family members of the 28,000 people there,'" Woodward told CBS.
According to Woodward, the tweet was never sent out after back-channel communications with North Korea made clear that the nation would regard the move as a sign the US was preparing to wage war on the North.
"In that moment there was a sense of profound alarm in the Pentagon leadership that, my God, one tweet and we have reliable information that the North Koreans are going to read this as 'an attack is imminent,'" Woodward said.
Woodward told CBS that Trump's staffers were concerned that the president could make an impulsive decision that could have major global consequences.
"People who work for him are worried that he will sign things or give orders that threaten the national security or the financial security of the country or the world," Woodward said.
Going back to Richard Nixon and Watergate, this is the ninth White House Woodward has covered. "In the eight others," he said, "I never heard of people on the staff in the White House engaging in that kind of extreme action."
Woodward writes that Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus dubbed the presidential bedroom, where Trump obsessively watched cable news and tweeted, “the devil’s workshop” and said early mornings and Sunday evenings, when the president often set off tweetstorms, were “the witching hour.”
“This is who I am,” says Trump when they suggested a committee to draft tweets for his approval without the spelling errors and at a more civilised time of day. “It’s the reason I got elected.”