Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Tuesday cautioned President Donald Trump against issuing threats to North Korea unless he is prepared to act.
“I take exception to the President’s comments because you got to be sure that you can do what you say you’re going to do,” he told Arizona radio station KTAR when asked about Trump’s comments earlier Tuesday.
Following reports that North Korea had produced a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile, Trump said that the country “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
McCain told KTAR that Trump’s rhetoric could just bring the United States closer to confrontation with North Korea. He said that he does not believe past presidents would have reacted in the same way.
“That kind of rhetoric, I’m not sure how it helps,” McCain said of Trump’s comments.
Asked if Trump is just using “tough talk,” McCain said, “The great leaders that I’ve seen, they don’t threaten unless they’re ready to act, and I’m not sure President Trump is ready to act.”
“It’s not terrible in what he said,” McCain added when asked if he stands with Trump. “It’s kind of the classic Trump in that he overstates things.”
The senator also told KTAR that it is not entirely clear what message Trump was trying to send.
“I don’t know what he’s saying and I’ve long ago given up trying to interpret what he says,” McCain said.