‘Let It Be an Arms Race’: Trump Offers Stunning Response While Clarifying Nuclear Proliferation Comments
It seems as if Donald Trump is doubling down on a troublesome assertion he made on Twitter yesterday. The President-elect stirred a bit of controversy with a curious tweet about the United States’ nuclear capabilities Thursday:
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
His comments are in direct opposition with decades of American nonproliferation policy regarding our nuclear arsenal.
But on Friday’s Morning Joe, during an off-air conversation with Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, Trump daftly asserted — according to the MSNBC duo — “Let it be an arms race, we will outmatch them at every pass. And outlast them all.” Remarkably, the comment came following an appearance on Morning Joe with newly-named White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who allegedly phoned the President-elect while sitting with Brzezinski and Scarborough; when the phone was transferred over to Brzezinski, the above comment was reportedly made by Trump.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the Tweet on Thursday, but earlier this week Russian president Vladimir Putin used similar language to discuss Russia’s own use of nuclear forces. Jason Miller, the incoming White House communications director, later clarified that the President-elect was simply, “emphasiz[ing] the need to improve and modernize our deterrent capability as a vital way to pursue peace through strength.”
Trump’s comments were extremely worrisome to many, like Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association, who said, “It is completely irresponsible for the president-elect or the president to make changes to U.S. nuclear policy in 140 characters and without understanding the implications of statements like ‘expand the capacity.'”
Joe Cirincione, the president of Ploughshares Fund, a group that fights to prevent the widespread use of nuclear weapons, said directly Thursday, “This is how arms races begin — with a battle of words.”
Watch the breaking news report above via MSNBC (for the record, despite the seriousness of the topic, Brzezinski and Scarborough are wearing pajamas for their final episode before Christmas. So, there’s that).
[image via screengrab]
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