Vermont’s congressional delegation raised strong concerns Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” should North Korea continue to threaten to attack with a nuclear weapon.
Sen. Patrick Leahy alluded to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, saying Trump needed to ratchet down the rhetoric and follow the example of President John F. Kennedy.
“This is a time to look at what President Kennedy did and bring together the leaders of the government and (find) a way out,” Leahy said at an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of IBM/GlobalFoundries being in Vermont.
The senator asserted that Trump’s rhetoric had put South Korea and other allies in the region in danger.
“There are no quick, surgical military solutions to the North Korea threat, and this is no time for reckless, provocative tweets,” Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement. “This is not something that will be solved by loud impulsive rhetoric issued from a golfing resort. This is a time for the president to bring in the military and congressional leadership as well as our intelligence agencies and give a clear response.”
American intelligence officials believe North Korea has made a nuclear weapon that can fit inside a long-range missile, according to The Washington Post. And the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has threatened to attack Guam, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific.
Recently, the U.N. Security Council laid down economic sanctions against North Korea because of the continuing development of the nuclear program.
“This is a time for the United States to act like the clear-eyed, resolute leader the world needs,” Leahy said.
Trump said earlier this week that if North Korea continues to threaten the United States it will “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., condemned Trump’s rhetoric too.
“President Trump’s bombastic rhetoric is not appropriate when we are dealing with the possibility of a nuclear war that could kill millions of people,” Sanders said in a statement. “North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and missile capability is an enormously serious issue, and we need serious people at the State Department dealing with it. Our job now is to work with China and our allies in the region and around the world on a comprehensive diplomatic strategy to address this problem.”
Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said Trump “is being very provocative, and what he should be doing is trying to de-escalate, not ratchet this up and basically be at the same level as the North Korean dictator.”
At the GlobalFoundries event, Welch added: “This is not complicated militarily. The U.S. has overwhelming force. This is a question of diplomatic skill.”
The two goals, Welch said, are to stop North Korea from fully developing a nuclear weapons program while also avoiding taking a military action that could trigger a response from North Korea that could lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people in the region.