The top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee said Friday he believes Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and two generals serving as top White House aides successfully steered President Trump away from making consequential decisions on the handling of the North Korea nuclear crisis.
"My presumption is, and I think it's valid, is that they have already weighed in and sometimes decisively to prevent things that could have been very consequential," Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said during a question-and-answer session at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Reed had been asked about his reaction to Trump's "fire and fury" threat to the regime in August and whether he reached out for clarification to Mattis, John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the president's national security adviser.
The event's moderator, ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl, pressed Reed on what Trump decisions he believed Mattis, Kelly, and McMaster had influenced.
"Like what?" Karl asked.
"Stuff," Reed said.
The senator also criticized the Trump administration's overall messaging on North Korea as incoherent, but said he had high respect for Mattis, whom he called "the most thoughtful and experienced man you could have in the secretary of defense's office," and the generals.
"If you listen to their statements, they are very strong but controlled and they send I think the right signal, which is don't presume we are not ready to do what we have to do, we are ready," Reed said.