WASHINGTON — A deputy assistant to President Donald Trump has dismissed statements by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regarding a military response to North Korea as “simply nonsensical.” He says Tillerson was stepping beyond his administration role as the nation’s top diplomat.

The remarks by Trump aide Sebastian Gorka to the BBC came after media criticism that the Trump administration — the president as well as Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — had offered mixed messages as tension rose over North Korea’s nuclear program.

While Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea not to threaten the U.S. and spoke of meeting the North with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Tillerson on Wednesday played down those comments.