White House Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka retreated Thursday from remarks implying it was "nonsensical" for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss the likelihood of military action against North Korea.
In an interview with BBC radio, Gorka reacted to a statement by Tillerson that a conflict with the isolated communist state was not imminent and that "Americans should sleep well at night."
"The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical," Gorka said at the time. "It is the job of [Defense] Secretary [Jim] Mattis, the secretary of defense, to talk about the military options, and he has done so unequivocally ... That is his mandate."
Gorka sought to clarify his remarks Thursday afternoon in an interview on Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto."
"I was admonishing the journalists of the fake news industrial complex who are forcing our chief diplomat into a position where they are demanding he makes the military case for action when that is not the mandate of the secretary of state," Gorka told host Liz Claman. "That’s why we have a department of defense. If a journalist doesn’t know the difference between the secretary of state and the department of defense, they should hand in their credentials. It’s just absurd lack of understanding."
Gorka said that Tillerson had "done an amazing job" to help guide new sanctions against North Korea through the United Nations Security Council, but "when reporters try to force him to make statements regarding military options, they have no idea what they’re talking about, and if they think that’s a story, they’re not journalists."