Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said President Donald Trump “speaks in ways that I wouldn’t” on North Korea but that it helps to “have a president who is strong.”
The Republican senator told ABC News “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz that if North Korea’s claim that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb Sunday is true, it is “a serious escalation in their ability to commit mass acts of murder” that will spur calls for “further serious steps to prevent North Korea from using those weapons.”
“North Korea right now, it’s the most dangerous place on the face of the planet,” Cruz said on “This Week” Sunday. “Kim Jong Un, who’s the dictator there, he is radical, he is unpredictable, he is extreme, and he’s getting more and more dangerous weapons.”
Raddatz asked Cruz about Trump’s prior warning that the United States would respond with “fire and fury” to any further provocations from North Korea.
“Do you think [the president’s threat] hurt or helped?” she asked.
“The president speaks in ways that I wouldn’t speak, but that is his prerogative,” the Texas senator said. “I do think it helps for North Korea and for China to understand that we have a president who is strong.”
“I think the president is right that Kim Jong Un and other bullies only understand and respect strength, that weakness, that appeasement, encourages this action,” Cruz said.
He added, “In term of what happens, listen, no rational person wants to see a military conflict with North Korea, with the nuclear weapons … [In] almost any scenario, you’re looking at tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of casualties in a matter of days.’
North Korea says it successfully tested hydrogen bomb that can be mounted on an ICBM
Timeline of North Korea’s claimed nuclear tests
President Trump tweeted about North Korea’s nuclear test this morning, saying Pyongyang’s, “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”
He continued, “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”
Asked what the president meant by his tweet, Cruz said, “I think the president is right that Kim Jong Un and other bullies only understand and respect strength, that weakness, that appeasement, encourages this action.”
“In term of what happens, listen, no rational person wants to see a military conflict with North Korea, with the nuclear weapons, there almost any scenario, you’re looking at tens or thousands or hundreds of thousands of casualties in a matter of days,” he said.
The Texas senator also reflected on the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, telling Raddatz, “The damage is unlike anything I have ever seen.”
“This last week has been horrific. Houston is my home,” Cruz said. “In Houston, you’re used to hurricanes, that’s part of living on the Gulf Coast is you get hit by hurricanes and you come through it. This disaster, Harvey, is unlike anything we have ever seen.”
Cruz praised the public’s response, “In the face of that disaster, we’ve seen incredible bravery.”