The Slatest

Republicans Blame Obama and Hillary for North Korea’s Nuke Test

A barbed wire fence at a military check point near the demilitarized zone separates South Korea and North Korea on Jan. 6, 2016, in Paju, South Korea.

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

On Wednesday morning local time, North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a miniaturized hydrogen bomb. As my colleague Joshua Keating has already explained, there are plenty of reasons to doubt that claim, and it will take a while to verify. Much of the Republican field of presidential hopefuls, however, wasted little time weighing in, offering up responses that amount to some combination of I told you so, and How dare President Obama and/or Hillary Clinton let this happen.

Marco Rubio got in on the action first, releasing a statement late Tuesday night after the news broke:

I have been warning throughout this campaign that North Korea is run by a lunatic who has been expanding his nuclear arsenal while President Obama has stood idly by. If this test is confirmed, it will be just the latest example of the failed Obama-Clinton foreign policy. Our enemies around the world are taking advantage of Obama’s weakness. We need new leadership that will stand up to people like Kim Jong-un and ensure our country has the capabilities necessary to keep America safe.

Chris Christie weighed in during a morning appearance on Fox News:

Three out of the four nuclear detonations that the North Koreans have done have happened under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s watch. They have just not acted strongly at all around the world. This is just another example – pile it on top of Iran, on top of Syria, on top Crimea and Ukraine. This is what weak American leadership gets you.

Jeb Bush sounded a similar note on Twitter Wednesday morning (in the process deploying one of Christie’s favorite descriptions of our current president):

Carly Fiorina trained her focus directly on Hillary Clinton, via Facebook:

Of course North Korea would conduct a nuclear test after watching Iran willfully violate an agreement they just made without consequence of any kind from this administration. North Korea is yet another Hillary Clinton foreign policy failure. America cannot lead from behind.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, was the one Republican who was willing to look outside the United States to lay blame during his Fox News interview:

China has total control. They have total control over North Korea, and China should solve that problem. And if they don’t solve the problem, we should make trade very difficult for China.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the GOP primary.