ABC's Terry Moran said President Trump's threat to destroy North Korea during his first address to the United Nations General Assembly "borders on the threat of committing a war crime" in a post-speech analysis on the network Tuesday.
“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump said in his remarks to world leaders and ambassadors.
“No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles,” he continued.
“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.”
Moran, who serves as ABC's chief foreign correspondent, provided his perspective to anchor George Stephanopoulos as ABC cut into regular programming for a special report.
"Terry, if you read the president’s words, he said the conditions for totally destroying North Korea would be if forced to defend ourselves and our allies," said Stephanopoulos. "You can read that possibly to even open up a justification for preventative war against North Korea."
Moran responded, "That is a potential justification, but the words totally destroying a nation of 25 million people, that borders on the threat of committing a war crime."
Moran, a frequent critic of Trump, took to Twitter to continue his commentary to his 1.17 million followers, which included mostly criticism but seemingly offered some praise for the president.
Trump declares the US is ready " to destroy North Korea." That's an immoral threat. Threaten vicious regimes, not innocent people.— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) September 19, 2017
Trump hates the Iran nuke deal--but most world leaders think it stopped yet another war in the Middle East. #UNGA— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) September 19, 2017
"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime." Trump brings his WWE rhetoric into the General Assembly. #UNGA— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) September 19, 2017
Trump tearing into the North Korean dictatorship in terms no world leader has ever used. Good for him.— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) September 19, 2017
The president’s comments come after the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Sept. 11 for a second time in recent weeks to increase sanctions on North Korea over its recent missile tests.