"Trump must immediately cease talk of pre-emptive war—which must be authorized by Congress—and commit to the diplomatic path advocated by both American experts and the South Korean government."
—Rep. John Conyers
In a letter delivered to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday, 62 House Democrats denounced President Donald Trump's "belligerent" and "reckless" threats against North Korea, and called on Tillerson to do everything in his power to de-escalate tensions.
With his "fire and fury" remarks on Tuesday—which were quickly deemed "stupid" and "dangerous"—Trump "raised the specter of nuclear war" and "senselessly provide[d] a boon to domestic North Korean propaganda, which has long sought to portray the United States as a threat to their people," the lawmakers write.
The letter continued:
Congress and the American public will hold President Trump responsible if a careless or ill-advised miscalculation results in conflict that endangers our servicemembers and regional allies. To allay these concerns, the Trump administration should publicly declare its agreement with the constitutional requirement that any preemptive attack on North Korea must be debated and authorized by Congress.
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"Simply put," the lawmakers concluded, "there is no military solution to this problem," and "diplomatic initiatives" must be pursued.
The letter was made public as Trump doubled down on his North Korea remarks, suggesting that perhaps his statement wasn't "tough enough." Trump added that he hopes to increase the U.S. military budget "by many billions of dollars."
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), in a statement accompanying the lawmakers' letter, said he is "ashamed that our Commander-in-Chief is conducting himself in a reckless manner that endangers our troops stationed in Korea and our regional allies."
"Trump must immediately cease talk of pre-emptive war—which must be authorized by Congress—and commit to the diplomatic path advocated by both American experts and the South Korean government," Conyers concluded.