Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and CIA director under President Obama, said on CBS’s Face the Nation that the entire nation is looking right now to see if President Donald Trump has the capability to provide strong leadership for the United States at a moment of crisis which comes in the wake of the president’s use of strong language last week against North Korea but weak language used condemning the white nationalist march on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia that sparked criticism from both Democratic and Republican leaders.
Former Defense Secretary Panetta said that President Trump’s use of rhetoric, particularly about North Korea “fire and fury, and lock and load” has created greater tensions in that part of the world and his failure to address what really occurred in Charlottesville concerning the role of white supremacists sends a message that he isn’t recognizing the real causes of crisis within the country.
Panetta admitted that he’s never felt, in the period of time dealing with North Korea over the past 60 years, that you can out bully a bully by trying to threaten that individual with words.
“The reality is, what speaks the loudest for the United States of America is the fact that we are the most powerful country on the face of the earth, and we have the military capability to wipe that regime off the face of the earth” Panetta said.
Panetta pointed out the fact that the U.S. is strong, with allies in the region from Japan and South Korea, and have always spoken clearly about their approach to dealing with the aggressiveness of North Korea is what determines whether or not the U.S. and their allies can try to ensure that they do not engage in a nuclear war there.
Panetta said that what is important right now is to have a president who is steady, calm, responsible, and can find a way to ensure that we do not get into a war.
Panetta explained that the U.S. needs to possess a clear strategy of both containment and deterrence through strengthening the U.S. military presence, strengthening support for South Korea and Japan, maintaining a strong missile defense system, employing strong diplomacy, increasing sanctions, and sending a clear message that if there’s any provocation from North Korea “it will spell the end of their regime, period.”
Asked to comment about the speed of North Korean weapon development, Panetta admitted that “they’ve been moving pretty quickly” over the last few years and now they have an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and they’re also close to developing a miniaturized nuclear weapon.
New White House Statement On Sunday About Charlottesville
The White House released a new statement today in the aftermath of violent protests on Saturday in Charlottesville that resulted in 1 fatality and 19 injuries after a car driven by James Alex Fields Jr., a supporter of the white nationalist movement, raced into a crowd of counter protestors on the downtown street.
The White House statement on Sunday uses more pointed language compared to President Trump’s remarks on Saturday from New Jersey that came under criticism for his use of “on many sides” when condemning the egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence in Charlottesville.
“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi, and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together” the White House statement said on Sunday.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R- Colorado) explained on CNN’s State of the Union that the president has done an “incredible job” of naming terrorism around the world as evil but said to call this white supremacism evil and let the country and world hear it.
“This president has done so when people have driven trucks through crowds in Europe. He’s called it radical Islamic terrorism. He should use this opportunity today to say this is terrorism, this is domestic terrorism, this is white nationalism and it has to stop” Sen. Gardner said.
Sen. Gardner noted that President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump called this white nationalism and said that the president needs to do so as well.
On Sunday Ivanka Trump tweeted, “1:2 There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”
1:2 There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 13, 2017
Her next tweet called for national unity.
“2:2 We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED.
#Charlottesville” Ivanka Trump tweeted.
2:2 We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 13, 2017
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