As nuclear tensions rise globally, we believe it’s important that 2020 candidates take a stand for policies that roll us back from the brink of nuclear war.
We’re asking candidates if they will endorse a No First Use policy if elected – a congressional measure that would ensure the US would never launch a nuclear weapon as a first strike against another nation. As it stands, the President has sole authority over the launch of a nuclear weapon – meaning the President can launch one without approval, whenever.
We have seen the dangers of sole authority, no President should ultimately have the ability to destroy entire communities by initiating nuclear war.
Check out the candidates below! They’ve all committed to passing legislation like No First Use, and putting checks and balances on our nuclear weapons systems!
Note: Beyond the Bomb does not endorse Congressional candidates, however, we thank representatives for committing to passing policies like No First Use!
"No President of the United States, not even Joe Biden, should have authority to launch a first-strike nuclear weapons attack without prior approval of Congress."
"The United States desperately need leaders who can stand on the world stage and use diplomacy as a foundation for peaceful negotiations so that we do not ever come to the brink of nuclear war."
"While, generally speaking, we don't want to take any options off the table, a first use nuclear strike would be a war crime rivaling any in world history. I would never support that in the United States Congress."
"A first strike with nuclear weapons guarantees mutual destruction. Therefore nuclear weapons should be a last resort option at all costs."
"A nuclear strike should never be our first response. Last resort maybe, but never a kneejerk reaction."
"I served in a command that was under the INF treaty. We had the Pershing II missile that had a W85 nuclear warhead. I know first hand how vital the "No First Use" policy is."
"The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) dictates that we should not be aggressing against anyone first, but we should not hesitate to respond to direct attack or credible imminent threat. Nuclear weapons should be a last resort, if used at all. "
"Since World War II the US has been on the front lines of the Cold War and ensuing arms race to keep the peace. In the 21st century America must instead lead the way away from nuclear weapons and focus on access to quality healthcare for everyone, education, and infrastructure that improves lives every day."
"Mutual assured destruction is alive and well as global powers abandon nuclear disarmament deals. I support a No First Use policy because I believe in diplomacy and that we can find solutions to the world's biggest issues without nuclear weapons. "
"Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.” ― Omar N. Bradley
"The future of our children depends on Congress committing to those perfect examples which ultimately protects our world. "
"In 2021, we will have a unique opportunity to rebuild our foreign policy and national security architecture after Donald Trump’s complete decimation of it. That means re-entering the Paris Climate Accords and treating climate change with the urgency it deserves, rebuilding and funding our State Department and USAID, and re-focusing our Defense Department to the threats of the future, instead of fighting yesterday’s wars. It will also mean working to reduce the threats posed by nuclear weapons worldwide, and I'm proud to sign this pledge to advance that mission."
"Diplomacy should always be our first course of action in foreign policy or dealing with aggressive adversaries. That's why I was proud to support the Iran nuclear deal that was scuttled by the Trump administration, making our world less safe. Our own nuclear weapons policy should be one of no-first-use and disarmament, leading by example and encouraging other nations to follow suit. That's why I support NFU efforts in Congress. I thank Beyond the Bomb's work to make our nation and our planet a safer, more stable place."
"As a former United States Foreign Service Officer and Diplomat, I have seen first-hand how diplomatic solutions help stabilize conflict around the world. I support the No First Use policy because the President should not have sole authority over nuclear weapons, as all acts of war should require Congressional approval, and taking nuclear weapons off the table as a first response will help provide decision-makers more time to explore other, more diplomatic solutions."
"There is no scenario where the use of nuclear weapons against innocent civilians is an ethical choice. The time to threaten each other with these weapons is over — just as we helped usher in the promotion of nuclear weapons as a leading defensive measure on a global scale, we must be the ones to commit to leading the world away from a reliance on nuclear weapons and unethical retaliatory measures."
"Unless we are struck first by a nuclear strike, we should always take the necessary actions to prevent nuclear weaponry. Always best to use diplomacy and ground troops first and a nuclear strike only as a "last resort", unless having had a nuke launched at us first."
"Just because we have the "right away" doesn't mean we should shoot "right away" America, it's time we choose "No First Use" Protects America from abuse."
"There is no justification or provocation that would make it acceptable to be the first to launch. We all share this wonderful planet. The loss of innocent life and long term ramifications to the environment make this unthinkable for a civilized peoples."
"It’s easy to say that we don’t need to use nuclear weapons first. And I believe that if we bring our troops home now we can minimize our risk of nuclear engagements in the future. "
"No president should be able to commit any act of aggression, regardless of nuclear, conventional, biological, cyber, or economic, without congressional approval. Anyone of these may justify an escalation to another, in the eyes of adversaries. "
"The United States was the first to make the bomb, we should be the first to advocate against its use."
"When I first ran in 2018, I was proud to sign onto the No First Use Pledge. Now, running again in 2020, I'm proud to once again endorse this policy. Too often, our elected leaders rely on violence to solve conflict, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians all across the country. As a Social Worker for over 40 years, I'll always endorse conflict resolution over violence. I'm proud to stand with Beyond the Bomb on this important issue."
"No country should resort to using Nuclear Weapons as a first use. It doesn't matter the conflict Nuclear Weapons are not the first choice."
"Nuclear weapons should never be used. Diplomacy should always be our first choice, even with perceived enemies. There's no justification for harming innocents when our fight is between two governments."
"Nuclear war remains one of the greatest existential threats to human civilization. I am proud to support the No First Use campaign."
"I support "no first use" because no single person should have the power to initiate nuclear war and launch nuclear weapons that destroy entire communities"
"Nuclear weapons kill innocent people indiscriminately and should absolutely never be used as a first strike or even a response to an attack. If there is a military threat, use of conventional weapons for defense is the only just use of force."
As a member of Congress, I will support legislation that sets out a No First Use policy to never launch a nuclear weapon as a first strike against another nation. While maintaining a formidable military nuclear deterrence capability, the U.S. must be a leader in the world towards reducing the further development and proliferation of nuclear weapons. This can be achieved through a No First Use Use policy and strong diplomatic relationships with fellow nuclear-armed nations. By the U.S. leading with a No First Use policy, it will encourage other nuclear-armed nations to follow suit; thus, reducing global tension and the risk of miscalculation in the use of nuclear weapons.
""I believe in just war. I am a Catholic and cannot imagine justifying any other position than no first use."
"The US must fight against the proliferation of nuclear weapons through global cooperation, diplomacy, multilateralism, and with strong treaties and arms-control agreements. We must end the production of new nuclear weapons, ensure a “No First Use” posture, and eventually reduce the global stock of over 10,000 nuclear weapons down to zero."
"The initiation of force is a violation of the Non-Aggression principle, but reserve the right to defend myself and others."
"I have been a peace activist all my life. I don't like the idea of the president having sole authority to start any war, let alone a nuclear war. I believe in a non-interventionist foreign policy, meaning the U. S. should end foreign wars, close our foreign bases, and bring our troops home. If we do this, there would be less chance of getting into a war."
"When it comes to the use of nuclear weaponry by the United States, there should be no ambiguity. I am a proud cosponsor of the No First Use Act which prohibits the U.S. from being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict."
"I am with the majority of the American people- this policy is essential in our modern era of nuclear weapons and is in the best interest of all humanity. As an economist I find the related objective cost/benefit and game theory analyses supportive of this proposal. "
"Pledging not to use nuclear weapons first is essential in maintaining the safety and security of our country and world. The United States should lead by example and never use nuclear weapons first before other countries. With the current political climate, a No First Use policy is crucial to reigning in the President's power over nuclear weapons. "
"I unequivocally support No First Use. Nuclear weapons should never be used again. The amount of destruction and suffering they cause is unfathomable."
"Use of military force should always be a last resort. Preemptive use of nuclear weapons should not be an option for any Nation. No leader should have the power to singlehandedly engage us in preemptive nuclear war."