Rep. Maxine Waters (D, Calif.) told TMZ on Wednesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should put threats aside and use diplomacy to deal with North Korea.
“We’re on the verge of nuclear war, what are your thoughts on this?” a TMZ reporter asked Waters upon leaving an upscale steakhouse in Beverly Hills.
Waters told the reporter that the State Department needs to be stacked up to deal in diplomacy with North Korea, and that the United States cannot afford to go to war with the country.
“I want us to be very careful, very alert to what is happening and to avoid war,” Waters said. “I think we can do this with some diplomacy, but we have got to have Tillerson, who is our secretary of state, get those positions filled for deputy [and] for assistant, so that we can engage with North Korea.”
She went on to say that she believes North Korea is issuing threats against the United States, but the United States should negotiate with the rogue country.
“I think there’s some things that they want from us, and we have to find out whether or not we can work with them on the things that they’re asking for,” Waters said.
“This is something that we should be very concerned about, but this is not the time to go bluffing and threatening. This is a time for a diplomacy,” Waters said, referring to President Donald Trump’s strong warning on Tuesday.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
“[Kim Jong-un] has been very threatening beyond a normal statement, and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Trump concluded. “Thank you.”
Water’s remarks Wednesday have been reflected by others who criticized Trump’s rhetoric. In a New York Times op-ed Thursday, former Obama administration official Susan Rice said Trump should halt the “reckless rhetoric” and “tolerate” nuclear weapons in North Korea if necessary.