The morning following his "fire and fury" remarks on Tuesday—which promised retaliation if the North Korean regime continues to threaten the United States—President Donald Trump took to Twitter to praise America's "powerful" nuclear arsenal, comments that intensified the groundswell of calls to end the pro-war rhetoric and strip Trump of his nuclear-strike authority.
"No U.S. President, certainly not Trump, should have sole authority to initiate an unprovoked nuclear war."
—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)Trump's threat against North Korea came on the heels of a report by the Washington Post indicating that Pyongyang had "successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles."
The Kim Jong-un regime responded just hours after Trump's remarks, promising to hasten "the tragic end of the American empire" and announcing it would review plans to "strike areas around the U.S. territory of Guam," where the U.S. maintains large military bases, "with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles."
Reacting to Trump's "crazy" comments and to the growing fear that the U.S. is inching closer to nuclear war, activists and lawmakers urged Congress to revive legislation that would strip the executive branch of the power to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.
"No U.S. President, certainly not Trump, should have sole authority to initiate an unprovoked nuclear war," wrote Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
In an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes Tuesday night, Markey said Trump's comments "bring us back to August of 1945, when nuclear weapons were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
Watch the interview:
Others echoed Markey's call for legislation that would remove the power to launch a nuclear first strike from the president. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), pointing to previous reporting by Common Dreams, highlighted the urgent necessity of removing the power to launch a nuclear first strike from the hands of the president—a move that has proven to be immensely popular.
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In May, as Common Dreams reported, more than 500,000 people signed a petition expressing support for the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, a bill introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) that, if passed, would bar the president from launching a nuclear strike without congressional authorization.
"This saber-rattling from the president is dangerous," concluded Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). "We need to de-escalate tensions so that diplomacy can work."
Adding to the calls for de-escalation is a newly drafted petition by MoveOn.org, which is set to be delivered to the White House.
"The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security."
—Tomihisa Taue, mayor of Nagasaki, Japan
The petition, which already has over 57,000 signatures, reads: "Stop the insanity. Don't provoke a war with North Korea."
"Donald Trump is making us all more unsafe with every war-mongering comment, tweet, and threat. His rhetoric threatening North Korea with 'fire and fury' is exacerbating a dangerous situation, putting the people of Guam—and everyone around the world—in grave danger," the petition adds. "While a nuclear North Korea is a real concern, the answer must be diplomacy-first, not a rush to a potentially devastating nuclear war."
The growing threat of nuclear war comes as Wednesday marks the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan by the U.S.
Carol Turner, vice chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said in a statement: "It beggars belief that the US president has chosen the 72nd anniversary to threaten North Korea with 'fire and fury like the world has never seen.' These words mark the real possibility of a nuclear confrontation."
Speaking at a memorial event on Wednesday, Tomihisa Taue, the mayor of Nagasaki, highlighted the "increasingly tense" international situation and argued that all nations should do away with nuclear weapons.
"A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again," Taue said. "The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security."