Trump's Nuclear Ambitions Angered Tillerson and Worried Military Leaders

Well, this would explain some of the angst that prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to refer to his boss as a “moron.” It’s Trump’s raging lack of knowledge and cartoon character ideas that has the nation’s top diplomat on edge.


According to an NBC News report, a July 20 briefing between Trump, Tillerson, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff raised eyebrows and tensions, when the president decided to show off his best, big brain.

Apparently, after a slide show briefing showing the decline of U.S. nuclear stockpiles from the 1960s to now, Trump reportedly commented that he wanted to increase those numbers, by nearly tenfold.

That wasn’t the point of the slideshow, but he missed it.

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 build-up. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.

The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide U.S. forces and operations. It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump is a “moron.”

So it wasn’t actually about the Boy Scout Jamboree speech.

Seriously… how many nuclear weapons do you need to get the job done?

All this, amid the ongoing heat over North Korea’s ballistic missile testing and Iran’s nuclear ambitions was a bit much.

Trump seems hyper-focused on war, even as Tillerson and other members of the Cabinet are seeking out every diplomatic avenue available.


The president’s comments during the Pentagon meeting in July came in response to a chart shown during the meeting on the history of the U.S. and Russia’s nuclear capabilities that showed America’s stockpile at its peak in the late 1960s, the officials said. 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. But his comments raised questions about his familiarity with the nuclear posture and other issues, officials said.

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 U.S. troops and military equipment.

The draft dodger has real life soldier men to play with, now.

So what happens if the U.S. begins to replenish their nuclear arsenal, at this point? How many disarmament treaties would be broken?

To be clear, I don’t think we need to cut any more, but we don’t need to send a signal that we’re plotting for war, either.

Think: global arms race.

“If he were to increase the numbers, the Russians would match him, and the Chinese” would ramp up their nuclear ambitions, Joe Cirincione, a nuclear expert and MSNBC contributor, said, referring to the president.

“There hasn’t been a military mission that’s required a nuclear weapon in 71 years,” Cirincione said.


And that’s the concern among Trump’s Cabinet, as well as military leaders. There’s so much Trump doesn’t know. The whole idea that the presidency should be a place for on the job training is a dangerous venture, but Trump’s base didn’t support him because he knows stuff. They support him because he’s the embodiment of their own reckless, impulsive anger.

Remember when Marco Rubio had to explain to him what the nuclear triad was during the primary debates? That was a stellar moment.

Asked three months later about U.S. policy on nonproliferation, Trump said on CNN: “Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change, because so many people, you have Pakistan has it, you have China has it.”

Oh, that was deep, Sir.

Later in that same interview, he said he didn’t want more nuclear weapons.

That meeting followed one held a day earlier in the White House Situation Room focused on Afghanistan in which the president stunned some of his national security team. At that July 19 meeting, according to senior administration officials, Trump asked military leaders to fire the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and compared their advice to that of a New York restaurant consultant whose poor judgment cost a business valuable time and money.

Of course he did, because he doesn’t get that the civilian world and the military world are two distinctly different situations.


Two people familiar with the discussion said the Situation Room meeting, in which the president’s advisers anticipated he would sign off on a new Afghanistan strategy, was so unproductive that the advisers decided to continue the discussion at the Pentagon the next day in a smaller setting where the president could perhaps be more focused. “It wasn’t just the number of people. It was the idea of focus,” according to one person familiar with the discussion. The thinking was: “Maybe we need to slow down a little and explain the whole world” from a big-picture perspective, this person said.

The U.S. has 4,000 nuclear warheads now. Trump expressed his desire to see that number go up to where it was in the 1960s, which is about 32,000.

Yes, we should all sleep easier knowing our nation’s nuclear program has been placed in the care of a reality TV host and Manhattan con artist.



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