False Ballistic Missile Warning Was ‘Unacceptable,’ Underscores Need for Talks With North Korea, Hawaii Rep. Says

The false ballistic missile warning in Hawaii was “unacceptable” and points to a need for President Donald Trump to negotiate with North Korea directly, Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said Sunday.

U.S. Representative, HI-02 Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a summit in New York City on Jan. 29, 2016. (Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

U.S. Representative, HI-02 Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a summit in New York City on Jan. 29, 2016. (Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

“We’ve got to get to the underlying issue here of why are the people of Hawaii and this country facing a nuclear threat coming from North Korea today, and what is this President doing urgently to eliminate that threat?” Gabbard said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

A false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday warned people to seek shelter due to an inbound ballistic missile threat. State leaders and emergency officials said it was a false message, and Hawaii Gov. David Ige told CNN “an employee pushed the wrong button,” causing the erroneous alert.

Peace talks with North Korea

Gabbard said she wants Trump to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally.

“I’ve been calling on President Trump to directly negotiate with North Korea, to sit across the table from Kim Jong Un,” Gabbard said, adding that the talks should “happen without preconditions.”

She said forcing the precondition that North Korea relinquish its nuclear program would be unlikely and self-defeating, adding that the US must recognize Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons development is informed by decades of US attempts to overthrow foreign governments.

“They see it as the only deterrent against the US coming in an overthrowing their regime there,” Gabbard said.

Trump has dismissed attempts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to deescalate the situation through direct talks, and last month the White House reined in Tillerson’s offer to start talks without preconditions. Trump has insulted Kim as “Rocket Man” on Twitter and in a speech before the United Nations, and he has threatened North Korea with “fire and fury.”

Kim has insulted Trump and threatened to attack the United States as his country continues to develop and test nuclear weapons and missile systems.

In an apparent shift on Wednesday, Trump said he might be willing to have dialogue with North Korea when it’s “appropriate.”

‘Terror all across the state of Hawaii’

Outside of the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, Gabbard said the false alarm highlighted the threat of nuclear war due to mistakes and false information.

“It’s not just the President making a decision to launch a nuclear weapon,” Gabbard said. “It’s these kinds of mistakes that we have seen happen in the past that bring us to this brink of nuclear war that could be unintentional.”

Gabbard said she was “angry” the false alarm went out and said she was hearing stories from all over Hawaii about the traumatic moments in the wake of the alert.

“The fact that these processes failed so epically, that caused this trauma, that caused this terror all across the state of Hawaii, must be fixed immediately, and those responsible for this happening need to be held accountable,” Gabbard said.