Top US lawmakers are urging restraint after President Donald Trump issued an ominous warning to North Korea on Tuesday.
Trump said during a news conference that the Kim Jong Un’s continued provocations would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” prompting reactions from Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
“I take exception to the president’s comments because you’ve gotta be sure you can do what you say you can do,” McCain said, according to NBC News’ Frank Thorp. “It’s not terrible what he said but it’s kind of the classic Trump in that he overstates things.”
McCain, a former Navy veteran and chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, attempted to throw cold water on Trump’s earlier remarks by noting that great leaders did not threaten until they were ready to act.
“And so, maybe it will turn out alright, he’s the president, I’m not,” McCain said. “But I don’t think that some of the great leaders that I have admired would have taken that same path.”
When asked to rate the North Korean threat on a scale of one to 10, McCain said, “I’d say 6, 6 or 7.”
Trump appeared to mirror North Korea’s propaganda outlets Tuesday, after intelligence officials told The Washington Post that North Korea had successfully produced nuclear warheads that could be placed inside a missile, and that the country could have as many as 60 nuclear weapons.
“He has been very threatening beyond a normal state,” Trump said, referring to the North Korean leader. “As I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also seemed to be disturbed by Trump’s comments. “President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments,” a statement from Feinstein read. “Hopefully, Secretary Tillerson is already discussing the possibility of reopening talks with our Asian partners during his current trip.”
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland followed suit, saying that Trump’s comments “were not helpful and once again show that he lacks the temperament and judgment to deal with the serious crisis the United States confronts.”
“We should not be engaging in the same kind of blustery and provocative statements as North Korea about nuclear war,” Cardin’s statement read. “No one should think that a conflict with North Korea will be a quick little glorious war, or be tempted by false hopes that North Korea’s nuclear program can be destroyed with a single antiseptic surgical strike.”