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Trump's greatest fear: North Korea

Trump raises his hands while speaking
Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President’s Trump’s M.O. is to project confidence in every setting: Even in small groups, he's loath to reveal even a tincture of self doubt. On North Korea, though, there have been private moments when his breezy talking of "winning" has evaporated and confidants found him almost awestruck by the enormity of what he’s confronting.

Why it matters: This isn’t just a big real estate deal or even a blustery trade standoff. The stakes are infinitely beyond anything he’s dealt with, and Trump knows it. The closest the president has come to being privately rattled has been when the rhetoric with North Korea got hot last year, and the world braced for the worst.