President Donald Trump said Friday that he would scrap action his administration took only a day earlier to crack down on companies accused of helping North Korea evade sanctions.
"It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea," the president tweeted on Friday, though the Treasury announcement he appeared to reference took place Thursday and did not involve "large scale" sanctions. "I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!"
In explaining the president's sudden announcement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn't think these sanctions will be necessary." Trump's tweet and the press secretary's clarification of it sent waves of confusion throughout Washington, from the Pentagon to the White House itself.
On Thursday, Treasury designated two China-based shipping companies that it said has aided Pyongyang in circumventing U.S. and international sanctions. The U.S. and its allies have used those economic measures to push North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs.