In a July meeting with top military officials, President Trump reportedly requested to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal by a factor of ten.
According to NBC News, officials were baffled by the request. However, the president indicated that he wanted to dramatically expand the country’s nuclear capabilities after seeing data indicating the U.S. weapons stockpile has been decreasing over the past 50 years.
Officials told the network that they were surprised by the president’s reaction and questioned his understanding of the issue. That is allegedly when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “moron,” which has spurred controversy the past week.
According to sources, Trump referenced a point when the U.S. had 32,000 nuclear warheads in the late 1960s, claiming he wanted to have as many under his administration. The U.S. currently maintains approximately 4,000 nuclear warheads, according to officials at the Federation of American Scientists.
Military experts explained to Trump at the meeting why such an expansion would not be legally possibly. They cited existing treaties and weapons agreements would be violated by this expansion, and would hinder the country’s best interests.
In the last few weeks, tensions have skyrocketed between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities. And recently, Trump announced he is preparing to decertify the Iran nuclear deal crafted under former President Obama’s leadership.
The Pentagon is currently undergoing a Nuclear Posture Review, which is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year. The review will help to modernize the country’s arsenal within the parameters of global nuclear treaties.
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