- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

As tension builds with North Korea, Democratic lawmakers say they’re increasingly concerned with President Trump’s finger on the nuclear trigger and want to pass a law prohibiting him from striking without congressional approval.

“We do not trust him with our nuclear weapons arsenal,” said Sen. Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat. “We do not want him to use nuclear weapons first in the North Korean standoff — not just there in Korea, but all across the planet.”

He and Rep. Ted Lieu of California introduced the the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act in January, and held a press conference Wednesday to say a petition drive backing their bill has reached 500,000 signatures.

The bill, part of a spate of anti-Trump legislation Democrats have written, would require a president to get authorization from Congress before delivering an offensive nuclear strike.

Backers said that the chances of a war with a nuclear power have increased with North Korea’s saber-rattling, and Mr. Trump’s responses to it.

“As his comments become more erratic and inconsistent on the use of nuclear weapons, we think it’s imperative for the United States Congress to reclaim its constitutional authority to have the power to determine whether or not these nuclear weapons are used first against any country,” Mr. Markey said.

During the campaign, Mr. Trump said he would be the “last to use nuclear weapons,” but also said he wouldn’t rule it out as a matter of U.S. policy. He has, at times, also signaled a willingness to allow wider proliferation of weapons.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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