Democratic lawmakers are attempting to limit the president’s power over America’s nuclear arsenal.
Legislation prohibiting the president from launching a nuclear first strike without congressional approval was introduced into Congress Tuesday by Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D – Calif) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), a press release revealed.
The Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 states, “The President may not use the Armed Forces of the United States to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless such strike is conducted pursuant to a declaration of war by Congress that expressly authorizes such strike.”
“The crucial issue of nuclear ‘first use’ is more urgent than ever now that President Donald Trump has the power to launch a nuclear war at a moment’s notice,” the press release read.
Democrats have repeatedly voiced concerns over Trump’s competency, asserting that he should not be given authority over the U.S. arsenal of several thousand nuclear weapons.
They believe that Trump will simply fire off a civilization-ending nuclear missile due to a minor provocation.
Some of Trump’s comments on the use of nuclear weapons have alarmed observers.
“I would certainly not do first strike,” he said during the first presidential debate. “At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table,” Trump added in a follow-up statement.
Trump raised red flags again with a tweet last month.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump tweeted in late December.
“Let it be an arms race,” he later told MSNBC.
Trump’s comments led people to view full presidential control of the nuclear football as a dangerous liability.
“It is a frightening reality that the U.S. now has a Commander-in-Chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be ‘unpredictable’ with nuclear weapons, and as President-elect was making sweeping statements about U.S. nuclear policy over Twitter,” Lieu said in a statement.
“Neither President Trump, nor any other president, should be allowed to use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack,” Markey explained in a statement.
While Democratic lawmakers, as well as some disarmament groups, are determined to take, to a certain degree, the nuclear football out of the hands of the president, it is unlikely that the Republican majority in the House and Senate will support moves designed to undermine the power of the president.
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