Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told colleagues that he feared North Korea could take out the U.S. electrical grid, sending the nation into “complete lawlessness and anarchy” like in the horror film “The Purge,” sources told The Washington Post.
The Trump administration official made the comments at a Capitol Hill holiday party hosted by his former adviser and friend, Armstrong Williams, according to the Post, when he asked his acting chief of staff, Deana Bass, if she was familiar with how an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, would affect the North American power grid.
“Did you know that if North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon into our exosphere, it could take out our entire electrical grid?” Carson reportedly asked Bass. “What's that movie where there's complete lawlessness and anarchy for one night a year? 'The Purge'! It will be like 'The Purge' all the time.”
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula have worsened over the past year as North Korea has continued to grow its nuclear capabilities. In November, North Korea claimed it had developed a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could strike anywhere on the U.S. mainland. The regime also announced it would test another ICBM in the coming weeks, according to reports from The Hill.
Last week, the Trump administration withdrew the nomination of its candidate to be ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, after he warned the White House that a pre-emptive “bloody nose” attack against Pyongyang, intended to illustrate the price the regime could pay for its continued nuclear threats, would risk pulling the U.S. into a devastating war.
North Korea analyst Gordon Chang told CNN that the decision to pull Cha's nomination was “ominous.”
“It means the people are seriously considering a strike on North Korea. This is an indication that we are headed to war,” he told the publication. “And there are so many — there are so many other options that the United States can pursue and we are not having meaningful discussions, including sanctions on North Korea's backers and more sanctions in general.”
The administration remains hopeful, however, that talks with North Korean officials at the Winter Olympics in South Korea could ease divisions between the two nations.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, will attend the 2018 Winter Olympics as part of the regime's delegation, which South Korea said it felt showed the nation's “willingness to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”
Vice President Mike Pence and Fred Warmbier, father of former North Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier, will also attend that ceremony this month.