Spread around the country during a summer legislative recess, lawmakers in Congress mainly urged caution after President Donald Trump on Tuesday publicly threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” in response to growing threats by the Pyongyang regime to possibly attack the United States.
“We need to be firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
“Bluster and saber-rattling will only exacerbate an already difficult situation,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI).
“The situation on the Korean peninsula is already volatile enough,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments.”
“Instead of threats and over-the-top rhetoric, we need to pursue a smart, long-term strategy to address these growing threats,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), as a number of Democrats in Congress denounced the President’s public warning to North Korea.
But the President was having none of that, as he told reporters from his New Jersey golf retreat that the repeated threats by Pyongyang could spur him to act.
Soon after the President’s bellicose statement, North Korea threatened to attack the Pacific Ocean island of Guam, a U.S. territory that is over 2,000 miles southeast of the Korean Peninsula, home to two U.S. military bases.
The North Koreans have made similar threats to Guam before; in 2013, the U.S. military placed an anti-ballistic missile battery on the island, which has become a permanent Pentagon fixture.
“Slow down, think strategy Mr. President,” said John McLaughlin, the CIA Director under President Obama.
“Playing nuclear chicken with North Korea could make the Cuban Missile Crisis look like pinochle,” McLaughlin added.
The big question for years has been how to handle North Korea – that question has been around in earnest through the Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton administrations.
No one has come up with the answer as yet.