Sleepy Joe Biden Not Trusted With Nuclear Codes
As President Joe Biden continues to adjust to his new life in the White House, Democratic lawmakers are asking him to cede control of nuclear codes.
“As president, two of your most critical and solemn duties are the security of the country and the safeguarding of its nuclear arsenal,” reads a letter from California Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D) and Ted Lieu (D). “However, vesting one person with this authority entails real risks…Past presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons or exhibited behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgement.”
This is a jab at President Donald Trump. He repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons during his pressure campaign on North Korea. Last month, in the days following the “MAGA attack” at the US Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, what they could do to prevent an ‘unhinged president’ from launching a nuclear attack.
31 lawmakers signed the Democrats’ letter. It encourages Biden to “consider modifying the decision-making process the United States uses for command and control of nuclear forces.”
Potential alternatives include:
- Requirement that the President, Vice President, and House speaker approve any decision to launch nukes
- Requirement that Congress also confirms any decision to launch nukes
- Written confirmation from the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General that such a strike was legal
- Periodic deliberation about the use of nuclear weapons by a permanent council of lawmakers that would have to be consulted before weapons are launched
As it stands, the president does not need to consult with anyone before ordering a nuclear attack. “The military is obligated to carry out the order if they assess it is legal under the laws of war,” notes the letter.
The idea that POTUS should have sole authority over the decision to launch nuclear weapons began during the Cold War. It was widely understood that there would not be enough time for deliberation. Starting during the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, presidents or their aides have carried with them a briefcase known as the “nuclear football.”
The contents of the briefcase also allow the president to singlehandedly launch a nuclear weapon without the traditional process of declaring war and mobilizing an army.
Republicans understand that changing this tradition would undermine American security. “The President of the United States must have the exclusive ability to command and control our nuclear deterrent,” wrote House Republicans Liz Cheney (WY), Mike Rogers (AL), and Mike Turner (OH). “These proposals, if enacted, would leave Americans vulnerable, destabilize the nuclear balance, and shake our allies’ confidence in the nuclear umbrella. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping would cheer if the US adopted such a unilateral restriction.”
Author’s Note: Nobody thinks Sleepy Joe is going to fire a nuke or even threaten to do so. So what is really going on here is that lawmakers don’t want a senile old Biden to be in charge of the nuclear codes.