Graham: Trump Told Me There Will Be War With NK If They Try to Hit US

By Melanie Arter | August 1, 2017 | 6:50 PM EDT

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (Screenshot of NBC News video)

( - Sen. Lindsey Graham told NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday that President Donald Trump told him that there will be war with North Korea if they continue to try to hit the U.S. with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

“There will be a war with North Korea over their missile program if they continue to try to hit America with an ICBM. He has told me that. I believe him, and if I were China would believe him too and do something about it. You can stop North Korea, militarily or diplomatically,” Graham said.

“President Trump has said I will not allow them to get an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top to hit America. They’re headed that way. The only way they’re going to change if they believe there’s a credible threat of military force on the way,” he said.

When asked about Graham’s comments Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that “the president has been very outspoken about how he feels about North Korea.”

“We’re weighing all options, keeping all options on the table, and as we’ve said many times before, we’re not going to broadcast what we’re going to do until that happens,” Sanders said.

When asked whether Sanders was saying that destroying North Korea is an option, Sanders said, “Look, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is the president has been very outspoken about the need to stop North Korea. We’ve been very focused on stopping the nuclear program, stopping the missiles, stopping the aggression. That still continues to be the focus, and we’re keeping those -- all options on the table in order to do that.”

Graham said Japan, South Korea, and China would be in the “crosshairs of a war,” if the U.S. started war with North Korea, but if Pyongyang got a missile, it could hit California and possibly other parts of the United States.

He said military experts who say there’s no good option are wrong.

“There is a military option - to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself. He’s not going to allow - President Trump - the ability of this madman to have a missile to hit America. If there’s going to be a war to stop him, it’s going to be over there. If thousands die, they’re gonna die over there. They’re not going to die here, and he’s told me that to me face,” Graham said of his conversation with the president.

“That may be provocative, but not really. When you’re president of the United States, where does your allegiance lie? To the people of the United States. This man - Kim Jong Un - is threatening America with a nuclear tipped missile. President Trump doesn’t want a war,” Graham said.

When asked to clarify if he’s saying it’s okay to “use a military option that immediately endangers the lives of millions of people in that region,” Graham said, “I’m saying it’s inevitable unless North Korea changes, because you’re making our president pick between regional stability and homeland stability.”

Graham said Trump has to a make a choice that no president wants to make. He said the U.S. has “kicked the can down the road for 20 years” and now “there’s no place else to kick it.”

Graham said he prefers to deal with North Korea diplomatically, but they won’t be allowed to have a missile that could hit the U.S. and allowing them to do that “is really abandoning homeland security.”

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