‘Unstable’ Trump can fire nukes
DEMOCRATS in the US Senate have warned of Donald Trump’s mostly unchecked ability to launch nuclear strikes, expressing fears the President could impulsively initiate a devastating attack.
“I would like to be able to tell my constituents and the American people we have a system in place that prevents an impulsive and irrational decision to use nuclear weapons,” Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, said at the start of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
“Unfortunately, I cannot make that assurance today”.
Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy told the hearing: “We are concerned that the President of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decisionmaking process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapon strike that is wildly out of step with US national security interests.”
Democrats on the committee noted the President’s escalating rhetorical battle with North Korea – a nuclear-armed nation he and his advisers have repeatedly threatened to annihilate – lent urgency to their questions about how, if at all, presidents were limited in their abilities to fire nuclear missiles.
“This is not a hypothetical question,” Mr Cardin said, noting that a nuclear first strike on North Korea could be an alternative to a conventional military campaign that would produce mass casualties in Japan and South Korea.
Military experts told the committee that while presidents had ultimate authority to order nuclear strikes, there were safeguards in place to ensure those orders were considered first.
Former Commander of US Strategic Command Gen C Robert Kehler said a nuclear first strike would need to meet certain legal requirements, noting that the military was obligated to disobey an “illegal order”.
But they acknowledged the President could overrule the advice of his advisers and order a nuclear strike if it was deemed lawful.
POWER TO DESTROY: US President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn to the White House after returning from his 12-day tour of Asia.