60-Plus House Dems Ask Tillerson To Rein In Trump Comments On North Korea

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In a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, more than 60 House Democrats expressed their “profound concern” over President Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” statements about North Korea and to remind Tillerson that any attack on North Korea “must be debated and authorized by Congress.”

“These statements are irresponsible and dangerous, and also senselessly provide a boon to domestic North Korean propaganda which has long sought to portray the United States as a threat to their people,” the letter, spearheaded by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), said.

They urged Tillerson and the rest of the administration to make sure the rhetoric surrounding North Korea’s threats is met with the “utmost caution and restraint.” The lawmakers said the President would be held responsible by Congress and the American people if a “careless and ill-advised miscalculation results in conflict that endangers our service members and regional allies.”

The House members outlined the recent history of conflicts with North Korea and the diplomatic action the previous three presidential administrations had taken over military action.

“We look forward to working with you to support crucial diplomatic initiatives and avoid catastrophic war,” they said.

The letter follows remarks made by the President this week when asked how the U.S. should respond to news that North Korea had developed a nuclear warhead that could fit inside a missile. Trump told reporters the threats “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

North Korea responded by threatening to attack Guam, a U.S. territory. On Thursday, Trump said his original rhetoric maybe “wasn’t tough enough.” 

Tillerson, for his part, has worked to deescalate Trump’s comments, by telling reporters Thursday that “Americans should sleep well at night.”

Read the full letter below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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