The allegations have reportedly been made in a new paperback version of Donald Trump Vs. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President - by The New York Times’ Washington correspondent Michael Schmidt.
According to US news network NBC, which claims to have seen a copy ahead of its publication on Tuesday, a new afterword details how Mr Trump “cavalierly” floated the idea in 2017 to then-White House chief of staff John Kelly, amid flaring tensions between the US and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
According to NBC, the new afterword says: “What scared Kelly...was the fact that behind closed doors in the Oval Office, Trump continued to talk as if he wanted to go to war.
“He cavalierly discussed the idea of using a nuclear weapon against North Korea, saying that if he took such an action, the administration could blame someone else for it to absolve itself of responsibility.”
According to NBC’s report, the book goes on to describe how Mr Kelly tried explaining to the then-President why this idea would not work, saying “It’d be tough to not have the finger pointed at us.”
Despite being briefed on the dire economic repurcussions and human toll of a conflict between the US and North Korea, Mr Trump would reportedly then “turn back to the possibility of war, including at one point raising to Kelly the possibility of launching a preemptive military attack against North Korea”.
According to NBC’s report, the afterword then goes on to say Mr Trump was “baffled and annoyed” when warned he would need approval from congress before launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike.
Donald Trump Vs. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President is published by Penguin Random House.
A blurb by publishing house says: “Donald Trump v. The United States tells the dramatic, high-stakes story of those who felt compelled to confront and try to contain the most powerful man in the world as he shredded norms and sought to expand his power.”
It says the book “records the clash between an increasingly emboldened president and those around him, who find themselves trying to thwart the president they had pledged to serve, unsure whether he is acting in the interest of the country, his ego, his family business, or Russia”.
The book is said to draw on “secret FBI and White House documents and confidential sources inside federal law enforcement and the West Wing”.