President Donald Trump is ready to go to war with North Korea over the rogue nation’s missile program if it continues to try to hit America, Sen. Lindsey Graham said.
“He’s not going to allow — President Trump — the ability of this madman to have a missile to hit America. If there’s going to be a war to stop him, it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there and he’s told me that to my face, Graham said on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday. “That may be provocative, but not really.”
The South Carolina senator said North Korea’s continuing aggression toward the United States was forcing Trump to choose between homeland security and regional stability — a conflict in North Korea would place parts of China, Japan and South Korea in the crosshairs of a war, he said.
On Friday, North Korea launched the longest range intercontinental ballistic missile it has ever tested — its second this month. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed the test proved the “whole U.S. mainland” is now in range of North Korean missiles.
The test proved once again North Korea’s missile program could be more advanced than previously thought and South Korea has said the rouge country might be gearing up for yet another test.
On Monday Trump told reporters his administration would “handle” the situation, but offered no specifics. Graham said war with North Korea is “inevitable” if it doesn’t cease weapons development.
Host Matt Lauer said military experts believed there was no good military option to handle North Korea, to which Graham simply replied, “You’re wrong.”
“There is a good military option — to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself,” Graham said, adding that he prefers a diplomatic option.
Graham’s comments saw a lot of backlash.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged Graham to get a classified briefing.
“Sit down with Secretary (James) Mattis, which I have done,” Feinstein told MSNBC on Tuesday. “It is all classified. But we know much more about these weapons and where they are and what the difficulties are, and that’s all I can say.”
She also responded via Twitter saying, “I’ve been briefed by Secretary Mattis and I read the intelligence. We need a diplomatic solution in North Korea—not a military one.”
I’ve been briefed by Secretary Mattis and I read the intelligence. We need a diplomatic solution in North Korea—not a military one.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) August 1, 2017
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday called on North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons and technology and engage in more diplomacy.
“We are not your enemy, but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond,” Tillerson told Reuters. “And we hope that at some point they will begin to understand that and we would like to sit and have a dialogue with them.”