Dozens of Democrats are concerned over President Biden having sole authority to launch nuclear weapons and have reportedly signed a letter addressing the issue with him.
According to the letter, which was obtained by Politico, Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., said giving this authority to one person “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 judgment,” he said.
“While any president would presumably consult with advisors before ordering a nuclear attack, there is no requirement to do so,” the letter states. “The military is obligated to carry out the order if they assess it is legal under the laws of war. Under the current posture of U.S. nuclear forces, that attack would happen in minutes.”
The Democrats offer some alternatives, such as requiring the vice president and speaker of the House “neither of whom can be removed by the president if they disagree — to concur with a launch order.”
ICYMI: I'm calling on @POTUS to install checks & balances in our nuclear command-and-control structure.— Rep. Jimmy Panetta (@RepJimmyPanetta) February 24, 2021
Past presidents have threatened nuclear attacks on other countries or exhibited concerning behavior that cast doubt on their judgment. Read more: https://t.co/Ntk8uvRqxO
This is not the first time Democrats have addressed concerns over the commander in chief having this power—they also took issue with former President Trump having access to the nuclear codes, calling him an "unhinged president."
Commenting on the report on Fox News, former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino said it’s indicative of how concerned Democrats are over Biden’s allegedly worsening condition—something the radio host warned about before the election.
“It gives me absolutely no joy in saying this, and I mean that. He is in real, significant trouble—Joe Biden. And listen to me, everyone around him. Everyone knows it. Everyone knows it,” he said. “This is the scandal that they’re not telling you how bad his condition really is.”
Host Sean Hannity pushed back and asked if Secret Service agents would confirm what he was saying.
“They call it the Secret Service for a reason, but I maintain a lot of contacts outside of even law enforcement. And I’m telling you, from what I’ve heard from people in my network, everyone knows how bad it is. Everyone. It’s not a mystery. It is the worst-kept secret in the White House and how they can — think about this. We’re only in the second month of this, how bad is it going to be four years from now? This is a serious problem. It’s not a joke.”
When asked on the campaign trail by CBS’s Errol Barnett whether he’d take a cognitive test in response to concerns, an agitated Biden said, “Why the hell would I take a test?”
He then added: “That’s like saying … before you got on this program, you’re taking a test whether you’re taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?”
Editor's Note: This post has been updated.