“President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. 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.”
So said the explosive (sorry) report by NBC News posted early Wednesday.
Except it wasn’t true, at least according to the main character of the story.
And Trump went one further.
According to the NBC report, “Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.”
According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the buildup. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.
Trump’s threat to “challenge” NBC’s license “alarmed some media figures and policy makers, who viewed it as an attempt to infringe on free-speech rights,” The Hill wrote. Some said it won’t happen.