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Arizona congressman Franks wants space-based defense to nuclear threats

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
LISTEN: Congressman Trent Franks

PHOENIX — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that if North Korea makes any more threats to the United States, “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

He made his comments hours after Japan’s Defense Ministry concluded “it is possible that North Korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has developed nuclear warheads.” A report also came out that Pyongyang has nuclear weapons that are capable of reaching the U.S.

Republican U.S. congressman Trent Franks, who represents Arizona’s eighth district, said Wednesday this could have all been avoided by prior leaders.

“I’ll say this, this president has made it clear to the North Korean regime that this is not going to be business as usual. We had 11 missile tests under Barack Obama with four nuclear tests. Under Bill Clinton, they negotiated the Agreed Framework, they called it, and it was the most gutless, fuzzy, non-specific, non-agreement really that you can imagine,” Franks told Mac & Gaydos on KTAR News 92.3 FM. “And yet we’re very generous with the North Koreans to try to get that agreement done — again, I can’t call it an agreement because it was anything really but that. But Mr. Clinton paid the ransom but he didn’t secure the hostage and that’s why today North Korea has nuclear weapons.”

Franks said he didn’t know what Trump’s intent was with his strong message, but figured it was a good prevention tactic to scare North Korea into not attacking in the first place.

“Maybe (Trump) doesn’t speak diplomat, but I think the North Koreans understand that there’s no advantage for them to attack this country with the nuclear capability now because there won’t be enough left of their country for a dog to find if they do attack us,” Franks said.

This contrasts Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who joined Mac & Gaydos for an exclusive interview Tuesday and said he took exception to the president’s comments because he doesn’t think Trump is ready to act.

Franks thinks the president is ready to act and has already stood up for the country more than other presidents have.

“That’s why this strategic gutlessness leads to potential horrific motions like that, and if we make it very clear to North Korea, if we had done what we should have done and said, ‘No, you’re going to either build down that capability, dismantle it, or a crow flying across your country will have to pack a lunch because we will sanction it so heavily that there won’t be any economic capability left in North Korea.’ We should have done that and we didn’t do it,” Franks said.

The 60-year-old congressman has been on the nuclear committee for 15 years and holds a chair in the missile defense caucus.

Right now, he is trying to get additional legislation sustained in the Senate for a space-based missile defense layer.

“We have to make our enemies know that there is no gain, that there’s no plus, that there’s no upside in attacking the United States of America and a space-based missile defense capability would be a critical component to that equation,” he said.

The missile defense system in space would be another preventive measure Franks was talking about, and the United States would be proactive about nuclear warheads instead of reactive.

“We could literally take it out while it was still on the launch pad,” Franks said.

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