Gorka: Tillerson discussing military matters ‘nonsensical’

Greg Nash

Deputy assistant to President Trump Sebastian Gorka in an interview with the BBC said it is “simply nonsensical” to think that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will discuss military decisions on North Korea. 

Gorka made the remarks to BBC4 Radio‘s “Today” while seeking to explain the different messages members of President Trump’s administration have made on North Korea.

“You should listen to the president,” Gorka said in response to a question about what red lines exist that might prompt a military response from the United States on North Korea.

“The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical,” Gorka said.

“It is the job of Secretary [James] Mattis as secretary of Defense to talk about military options, and he has done so unequivocally. Today he said woe betide anyone who militarily challenges the United States, and that is his portfolio, that is his mandate,” he continued. 

“Secretary Tillerson is the chief diplomat of the United States, and it is his portfolio to handle those issues,” Gorka added. 

The Trump adviser pushed back on the reports calling his comments on Tillerson criticism on Thursday evening.

“This is a deliberate distortion of my comments and yet another example of fake news. I was clearly stating that it is absurd for reporters to try to press the Secretary of State to give answers on military issues,” Gorka said in a statement.

“Secretary Tillerson’s answers to such questions are always gracious and thoughtful – a reminder of why he has been so effective in his role as the President’s top diplomat. There is no daylight between the President’s diplomatic and military teams, and any suggestion otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading,” Gorka’s statement continued.

{mosads}The comments come amid reports of divisions within the Trump administration over North Korea.

Tillerson struck a reassuring tone on Wednesday, saying “Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.”

Mattis in a Wednesday statement warned that if Pyongyang did not change its behavior, it would face “the destruction of its people.”

“The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mattis said in the statement.

“The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

Mattis’s remarks shared a similar tone to comments from Trump on Tuesday, though there was also a critical difference. 

Trump said North Korea will face “fire and fury” if it continued its threats toward the United States. 

While Trump’s remarks suggested aggressive threats from North Korea could lead to military action, Mattis’s remarks suggested the nation’s actions would have to go beyond threats to receive a military response. 

On Thursday, Trump said his “fire and fury” remark may not have been tough enough, and Gorka, in his interview with the BBC, suggested the mere threat from North Korea could lead to a U.S. military response.

“If you threaten a nation, then what should you expect, a stiffly-worded letter to be sent by Korea,” Gorka said.   

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