Fact Check: Trump's Unjustified Boast About US Nuke Power


Lawmakers around the country and the Working Families Party, a group that's particularly active here in New York, Oregon and half a dozen other states, is citing GOP President Donald Trump's bellicose threats against North Korea to push legislative restrictions on US first use of nuclear weapons.

"The president alone has the authority to launch nuclear weapons, the only restraint being the advice of senior advisors who might be present at the time of crisis, and Donald Trump has shown repeated contempt for informed and wise counsel".

"My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal", he wrote.

"Americans should sleep well at night", Tillerson told reporters.

The Associated Press documented a range of problems in the Minuteman 3 missile force starting in 2013, including numerous morale, training, discipline and leadership shortfalls that have beset the nuclear force in recent years, especially among those who operate, maintain and protect the weapons. If Donald Trump is even remotely thinking of making some kind of attack on North Korea, no one on earth will be safe from the fallout - and we mean that both literally and figuratively.

- "If he's been able to modernize the nuclear arsenal in the six months he's been in office, he should have no trouble selling Brooklyn Bridges to anybody", said Doug Wilson, a former assistant secretary of defense for public affairs in the Obama administration.

Trump's tweets come on the heels of his comments about North Korea on Tuesday, in which he threatened to respond to the North's provocations with "fire and fury like the world has never seen". He added: "Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours".

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Still, Tillerson stressed that Trump's loud mouth is not the way out of this catastrophe.

He said China stands to benefit the most from a stable North Korea.

Trump's talk "led to North Korea directly threatening almost 168,000 American citizens living in my home district of Guam", she added. "I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the United States unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies". And despite Trump's public bluster, the US has reportedly been carrying on quiet, back-channel negotiations with North Korea through that country's United Nations representatives. Though he insisted there was no imminent threat, he noted that even if there were, "the North Korean missile capability can point in many directions, so Guam is not the only place that would be under threat".

At least one prominent lawmaker felt Trump wasn't bluffing with his threat. Sen. "He's not going to contain the threat".

"I'm saying we have to do something to stop", he went on.

"He is sick of mind, impetuous, arrogant, belligerent and unsafe", Gordon Humphrey, who represented New Hampshire from 1979 to 1990, said in a letter to his state's members of Congress obtained by Manchester ABC station WMUR. After months of frustration over China's reluctance to pressure Pyongyang economically, the USA on Saturday secured a unanimous U.N. Security Council vote to authorize sweeping new sanctions that target one-third of the North's exports.

- "Nothing's happened yet", said Todd Harrison, director of Defense Budget Analysis at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.