McMaster: Trump’s North Korea rhetoric ‘completely appropriate’

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Thursday said President Trump's warning that the U.S. might be forced to "totally destroy" North Korea was "completely appropriate," given the threat from Pyongyang.

"The president's rhetoric as completely appropriate because what is even more dangerous is if there's a lack of clarity," McMaster told host Chris Cuomo on CNN's "New Day."

McMaster said Trump maintained a standard set by past presidents during his comments earlier this week at the United Nations. He added that the North Korean threat is more dangerous now due to advances in its nuclear weapons program. 

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"Previous presidents have made very similar statements, and the clause is 'if' — 'if North Korea attacks,' 'if North Korea takes these provocative actions.' We may not have a choice," he said.

Trump took a hard-line stance to North Korea in his first address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, leading to mixed reviews

“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” the president told the crowd of world leaders and diplomats, using a nickname to refer to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un. 

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump continued.

When asked on Thursday if the “Rocket Man” nickname is helpful, McMaster said it helped “get everybody’s attention.”

“It's an accurate term. This is someone who has compromised everything for his nation in the pursuit of these capabilities. He is disadvantaging his own people every day by investing in what is a suicide mission.”

Last Friday, Trump said after another North Korean missile launch that his administration's options are "effective and overwhelming."

Leaders in Washington are scrambling for a strategic plan to address escalated tensions in the wake of a series of North Korean nuclear and weapons tests.