U.S. President Donald Trump wanted what amounted to a nearly a tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal, he told a meeting of his national security advisers in July, NBC News reported this month.
He reportedly made the request after seeing a downward-sloping curve on a briefing slide charting the gradual decrease in US nuclear weapons since the 1960’s.
But the president has since denied the NBC report as “fake news,” and said he wanted the repository modernized.
“We don’t need an increase. But I want modernization and I want total rehabilitation. It’s got to be in tip-top shape,” said Trump.
One response to the report, the president chalked up this tweet:
“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!”
Although U.S. presidents have over the years modernized stockpiles adding to the nuclear arsenal or building a prohibited type of weapon would be a violation of treaty agreements, according to NBC.
The network also reported that Trump had also called for additional U.S. troops and military equipment. As of this year, the U.S. has about 7,100 nuclear weapons and Russia has 7,300, according to the U.S. non-partisan Arms Control Association.
After the meeting, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron,” according to NBC. Other news reports have also highlighted how the relationship between Trump and Tillerson as being tense.
MSNBC also reported in 2016 that as a candidate, Trump asked a foreign policy adviser three times in a one-hour meeting why the United States could not deploy its nuclear weapons.
Trump also made a tweet, which posed as a threat to NBC, and other media giants, on the nuclear increase story:
“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”
Walter Shaub, who led the US Office of Government Ethics under President Barack Obama, responded with another tweet:
“At what point? At the point when we cease to be a democracy.”
Trump’s threat against NBC’s license will likely have no legitimate threat to any broadcast.
The FCC issues broadcast licenses to stations, not networks. Thus, in order to revoke NBC’s right to broadcast, the FCC would need to terminate the licenses that the network’s parent company, Comcast, holds for various NBC stations.
The FCC usually does not resort to this unless a licensed broadcast entity has engaged in severe, illegal conduct.
The Committee to Protect Journalists also slammed the U.S. president’s tweet, saying that it serves as a poor example for other world leaders.
With all this talk of nuclear warheads and threats to our news organizations, perhaps safety is the number one thing that should be put on one’s home or car.
Getting the best homeowner or auto insurance with the right coverage for you can be another thing that you won’t have to worry about, until Trump’s next tweet.