Trump denies seeking almost tenfold increase in United States nuclear arsenal

Lucy Bush
October 14, 2017

President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a almost tenfold increase in the USA nuclear arsenal during a gathering this summer of the nation's highest ranking national security leaders, three officials who were in the room told NBC News.

Two officials present said that at multiple points in the discussion, the president expressed a desire not just for more nuclear weapons, but for additional USA troops and military equipment.

News reported earlier in the day that "President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a almost tenfold increase in the USA nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation's highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room".

"Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve", NBC reported.

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Some officials present said they did not take Trump's desire for more nuclear weapons to be literally instructing the military to increase the actual numbers.

According to the network, Mr Trump had been shown a slide that showed the steady reduction of United States nukes since the late sixties, in line with post-cold war treaties.

Trump's advisers, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised, according to the network. They briefly explained to Trump the legal and practical hurdles to a nuclear buildup, according to NBC News.

The July 20 meeting came a day after another one that left national security officials stunned.

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"General Mattis put out a statement, or is putting out a statement, saying that was fake news, that it was just mentioned that way", he said.

The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide US forces and operations.

Trump again called the report "fake news" and added that such an increase in the nuclear arsenal was "totally unnecessary".

"The press should speak more honestly", he continued. The Federal Communications Commission, which oversees broadcast licenses (for individual stations, not networks), is an independent agency in the federal government and is not required to follow presidential orders.

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Trump's reported interest in massively increasing America's nuclear arsenal also drew widespread criticism, despite his denials.

Other reports by Info About Network

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