Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called it “absolutely unacceptable” and an “epic failure of leadership” that the state sent out a false ballistic missile alert — and then took nearly forty minutes to correct the error.
The Hawaii rep, appearing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” also said the false alarm shows the need for President Trump to negotiate with North Korea on its nuclear arsenal.
The false alert from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency warning of an incoming ballistic missile went out to cell phones of people across the state Saturday morning and also blared across television screens. It took 38 minutes to send a new alert correcting the error, which occurred when someone pushed the wrong button.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable, and it’s an epic failure of leadership,” Gabbard said Sunday.
RELATED: Tulsi Gabbard
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard throughout her political career
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard throughout her political career
US Democratic Representative from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) on 'The Plight of Religious Minorities in India' on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 4, 2014. Several US lawmakers voiced concern for the future of religious minorities in India in a hearing that critics denounced as an attempt to influence upcoming elections. With polls starting April 7 in the world's largest democracy, several activists testifying before the US Congress' human rights commission expressed fear for the treatment of Muslims and Christians if Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi becomes the next prime minister, as surveys predict. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
First Hindu Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, speaks at the unveiling ceremony of life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Secaucus, NJ on May 31, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 25: Davan Gabbard (L), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (C) and Emily Tisch Sussman attend ELLE's annual Women in Washington Power List dinner hosted by Robbie Myers, ELLE Editor-in-Chief, with Gucci at Villa Firenze, the home of the Italian Ambassador, on March 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Elle)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) â Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington D.C., Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends news conference with democratic freshmen members-elect, in the Capitol Visitor Center. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, talks with Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC, before the Congressional Women's Softball game that pits Congresswomen against female journalists at Watkins Recreation Center on Capitol Hill. The reporters prevailed in a 11-8 victory. The game benefits the Young Survival Coalition that helps young women with breast cancer. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEB. 01, 2012: Tulsi Gabbard interviewed at Roll Call in Washington D.C. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call Photos)
UNITED STATES - JULY 26: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, nominates Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark)
US Representative Tulsi Gabbard speaks during Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 26, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, greets Celestino Almeda, a veteran reprinting the Philippine Commonwealth Army, during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II on October 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II on October 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 06: Tulsi Gabbard speaks at Bernie Sanders 'A future to believe in San Francisco GOTV Concert' at Crissy Field San Francisco on June 6, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Brian Mast, R-Fla., conduct a news conference in Rayburn Building on the Burn Pits Accountability Act, which evaluates the 'exposure of U.S. service members and veterans to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals,' on May 17, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Abraham Williams (L) and Tulsi Gabbard attend the Sean Penn CORE Gala benefiting the organization formerly known as J/P HRO & its life-saving work across Haiti & the world at The Wiltern on January 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for CORE, formerly J/P HRO )
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
“Yes, it was unacceptable that this went out in the first place. But the fact that it took so long for them to put out that second message to calm people, to allay their fears, that this was a mistake, a false alarm, is something that has to be fixed, corrected, with people held accountable.”
Gabbard said the warning sparked mass panic across the state.
“You can only imagine...the panic, the terror, the chaos and confusion,” she said, adding that people thought “they’ve got minutes to say goodbye to their loved ones, to find their loved ones, to try to find some kind of shelter somewhere.”
Gabbard, a Democrat, said Trump should be talking directly to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to work out a deal so that the people of her state are no longer living in fear of a possible nuclear attack.
“This threat of nuclear war, nuclear attack is not a game,” she said, adding that Trump should “absolutely and immediately” be speaking to Kim.
“The people of Hawaii are paying the price now for decades of failed leadership in this country, of failure to directly negotiate, to prevent us from getting to this point where we’re dealing with this threat today,” she said.
The Congresswoman said there should be no preconditions demanded before talks begin.
Trump should “sit across the table from Kim Jong Un without preconditions, work out the differences, figure out a way to build this pathway towards denuclearization because there is so much at stake,” she said.
Trump has derided Kim as “Rocket Man” and dismissed negotiations with North Korea as a waste of time, threatening to wipe the country out if it threatens the United States. But he has also said he’d be willing to talk to the North Korean leader if certain conditions are met.