Even as North Korea warned of a missile strike against the United States territory of Guam on Tuesday night, former senior director of the National Security Council Ned Price maintained that President Donald Trump’s “irrationally bellicose response” should be more concerning to the American people than any threat from the rogue nuclear state.
“Of all that happened today, President Trump’s irrationally bellicose response was the most concerning,” the former NSC director, who previously served as special assistant to former President Barack Obama, said in an email to Mic. “The North Koreans still have quite a few technical hurdles before they can be capable of striking the United States with a nuclear-tipped [missile].”
The former NSC director’s criticism of Trump’s rhetoric refers to comments the president made Tuesday at his Bedminster Golf Club, where he threatened a strike of unprecedented force against North Korea should its leader continue its threats.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said. “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
For all its threats, the United States believes North Korea still lacks the technology to launch a nuclear missile capable of striking U.S. soil. Still, Price warned that comments like the ones Trump made on Tuesday put tens of thousands of active service members at risk.
“The president’s provocative response makes the risk of conflict all the more likely,” Price said. “And the inescapable truth is that even a conventional spark on the Korean Peninsula could quickly escalate, putting tens of thousands of U.S. service members as well as our regional allies at risk.”
On Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to assuage Americans’ anxieties over the escalation of threats between the two nations, saying that North Korea did not pose “an imminent threat” to the U.S.
“Americans should sleep well at night,” Tillerson told reporters before arriving in Guam.
As Tillerson made those comments, Trump tweeted that the United States’ nuclear arsenal “is now far stronger and more powerful than ever.”