INTERVIEW: Senator Jim Risch talks 2018 Olympics closing ceremony, weighs in on North Korea

Photo Courtesy: Jim Risch

Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) was elected to the United States Senate in November of 2008, after serving as Idaho State senator, lieutenant governor and governor. Sen. Risch serves on five Senate committees, include the Select Committee on Intelligence. He joined Neal Larson and Julie Mason on KID Newsradio to talk about his recent trip to South Korea as part of the U.S. Delegation for the 2018 Winter Olympic closing ceremonies, his recent comment at a security conference about North Korea and gun control.

Listen to the full interview below:



IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — U.S. Senator Jim Risch talked about his recent trip to the closing ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and discussed the current relationship between the U.S. and North Korea on Thursday, March 1.

Risch, selected as one of five people to represent the United States at the closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, said the delegation had work to do while overseas, but they also loved celebrating the Olympics with the rest of the world.

“These are a celebration of by the planet of all the countries getting together and competing in peaceful games with rules that are said ahead of time,” Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) told KID Newsradio. “You know the politics, the politics creeps in, of course, North Korea being right there, that’s the elephant in a room and we wound up having to deal with that to a degree, but look, we wanted to celebrate America, celebrate our athletes and our close ally South Korea.”

North Korea is not far from Risch’s mind though. At a recent security conference, the Senator discussed the response from the United States in the event the communist regime took nuclear action against the country.

“If this thing starts, it’s going to be probably one of the worst catastrophic events in the history of our civilization, but it is going to be very, very brief,” Risch said during a panel at the Munich Security Conference. “The end of it is going to see mass casualties, the likes of which the planet has never seen. It will be of biblical proportions.”

The statement alarmed many national media outlets, but Risch said that kind of alarm needs to be raised in discussions surrounding national security.

“I had people say to me, ‘Well, you know, that language dangerous,’ I say, ‘ I’m going to tell you what’s dangerous,'” Risch said. “What’s dangerous is if Kim Jong Un doesn’t clearly understand what’s on the mind of the President United States when it comes to defending his country.”

But Risch said people shouldn’t assume President Donald Trump already has his mind set on engaging with North Korea through the U.S. military. President Trump is pursuing non-military options, first.

“The President has been handed many, many options,” Risch said. “One of them on one end the spectrum is a non-military response that is a a gradual turning of the screw that cuts off their oil and other materials they can use to make weapons or taking military action, which is the better choice? Well, obviously the better choice is non-military action, so long as it works and that’s the phase we’re right now and the President United States has been very clear that he’s going to use this option. Kim Jong Un can do what he wants, but he needs to weigh and make a determination whether he wants the President to move to phase two. The President uses the word phase two and we all know what that means.”