As Tillerson Downplays North Korea Threat, White House Continues to Escalate Tensions

So much for sleeping well at night.

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to downplay any “imminent” threat of war with North Korea, White House adviser Sebastian Gorka on Wednesday continued to fan the flames with a starkly different message that mirrored the president’s pugnacious remarks the day before.

“He’s saying don’t test America, and don’t test Donald J. Trump,” Gorka said on Fox & Friends. “We are not just a superpower. We were a superpower—we are now a hyperpower. Nobody in the world, especially not North Korea, comes close to challenging our military capabilities, whether they’re conventional, nuclear, or whether they’re special forces.”

He added, “The message is very clear: Don’t test this White House.” 

Gorka’s warning comes amid heightened fears of potential war with North Korea, after President Donald Trump on Tuesday promised to unleash “fire and fury” in retaliation against North Korea’s ongoing threats against the United States and its allies. Trump’s remarks were swiftly condemned by lawmakers and foreign policy experts, who warned the president’s rhetoric could aggravate the already volatile situation.

Tillerson on Wednesday defended Trump’s comments, claiming there were no signs that any looming threat from North Korea had “dramatically changed” over the past 24 hours. “Americans should sleep well at night,” he told reporters on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, North Korea announced it is considering a military strike on Guam, where the United States maintains major military bases.