Sen. Chris Murphy argues against repeal of the Affordable Care Act on the Senate floor Thursday. YouTube
Sen. Chris Murphy YouTube

Washington – In a tweetstorm Wednesday, Sen. Chris Murphy blamed President Donald Trump for a dangerous and undiplomatic response to threats from North Korea.

“Trump knew NKorea would be a problem. Yet he intentionally keeps vacant EVERY diplomatic position that is relevant to solving this crisis,” tweeted Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Murphy also tweeted, “Why are we worried about Trump’s military threats? Bc he’s surrounded by advisors trained in military, not diplomatic solutions to crises.”

Trump on Tuesday raised the specter of nuclear war against North Korea if it continued to threaten the U.S.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said on Tuesday from his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J.

Trump’s warning was in response to reports that North Korea had successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit inside a ballistic missile.

After Trump spoke, apparently in response to U.S. military exercises near North Korea, the Pyonyang government warned it was considering a military strike against the United States’ Pacific island territory of Guam.

On Wednesday, Trump continued his bellicosity toward North Korea, bragging in a series of tweets about U.S. nuclear weapons, while saying that, “hopefully we will never have to use them.”

Murphy’s critical response is based on the failure of U.S. diplomacy in the region and on the large number of vacancies at the State Department.

The Trump administration has failed to fill a number senior positions at the agency. Of the 113 positions listed on the State Department website – including deputy secretaries, assistant secretaries, undersecretaries and other senior officials – only 36 have been filled. Twenty-nine positions are occupied by holdovers from the Obama administration, and 48 positions are vacant.

“I’m worried about Trump’s bellicosity on NKorea. I’m more worried that he has ZERO senior people who know how to solve crises like this,” Murphy tweeted.

The senator also dismissed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is the former CEO of Exxon Mobil.

“A president w no diplomatic experience chose a Sec of State w no diplomatic experience who chose not to hire anyone w diplomatic experience,” Murphy tweeted.

On Wednesday Tillerson told reporters that there is not thought to be “any imminent threat” from North Korea.

“Americans should sleep well at night,” Tillerson said.

He also said Trump was  “sending a strong message to North Korea in language that (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.”

“I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the U.S. unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies,” Tillerson said.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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