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Sebastian Gorka, a senior White House national security official, has reiterated President Donald Trump’s threats against North Korea, saying on Wednesday that the US would respond to escalating threats from the nuclear-armed rogue state.
“Don’t test America and don’t test Donald J. Trump,” Gorka said on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday morning. “We are not just a superpower. We were a superpower – we are now a hyperpower.”
On Tuesday, Trump issued a chilling warning to the North Korean government, saying the country “best not make any more threats to the United States” or it would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
The president’s language, which experts say is largely unprecedented in the US’s treatment of the country, was condemned by Democrats on Capitol Hill as well as by some Republicans.
Of the president’s comments, Republican Sen. John McCain said, “That kind of rhetoric, I’m not sure how it helps.”
In response to the criticism, Gorka said lawmakers should stand behind the president, harking back to the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis – at a time when, Gorka said, the country was united behind President John F. Kennedy.
“During the Cuban missile crisis, we stood behind JFK,” Gorka said. “This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis. We need to come together.”
While Gorka echoed the president and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in characterizing North Korea as a “grave threat” to the US, he added that the country posed a “very, very insignificant threat in terms of scale,” arguing that the country’s military power paled in comparison to that of the US.
Gorka is a controversial figure within the national security community. In conversations with Business Insider in February, several national security experts questioned his credibility in their field, saying he was often dismissed as an outspoken conservative pundit lacking the experience and knowledge to advise the president.