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. 

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.