Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, warned against a potential conflict with North Korea “if things don’t change.”
“If we have to go to war to stop this, we will,” Graham told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. “If there’s a war with North Korea it will be because North Korea brought it on itself, and we’re headed to a war if things don’t change.”
Graham’s comments on CNN’s “The Situation Room” come amid rising tension between the US and North Korea, and on Tuesday, the Pentagon confirmed that North Korea had launched what the US military believes to be an intercontinental ballistic missile.
President Donald Trump responded by telling reporters that, “we will take care of it.”
Graham clarified that he doesn’t think war would be the best outcome but said the US won’t let Kim Jong Un have the ability to strike America’s mainland.
“I don’t want a war. He doesn’t want a war,” Graham said, referring to Trump. “But we’re not going to let this crazy man in North Korea have the capability to hit the homeland.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Tuesday that the North Korean missile test went “higher, frankly, than any previous shot they have taken.”
Mattis added that North Korea has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world basically.”
Graham added that Trump is prepared to take whatever actions are needed to protect the US homeland.
“He is ready, if necessary, to destroy this regime to protect America, and I hope the regime understands that if President Trump has to pick between destroying the North Korean regime and the American homeland, he’s going to destroy the regime. I hope China understands that also,” Graham said.
CNN’s Zachary Cohen, Taehoon Lee and Ryan Browne contributed to this report