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Trump denies pushing for tenfold increase in nuclear weapons

12 October 2017
Trump denies pushing for tenfold increase in nuclear weapons

"I've seen tremendously dishonest press", he said, accusing NBC of making up the story and inventing sources.

If the United States were to increase its nuclear arsenal, that could break with years of doctrine and violate worldwide disarmament treaties that have been signed over the years by every president since the late Ronald Reagan.

Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured reporters, "This is a president who supports the First Amendment".

NBC News has incurred the wrath of Trump's ire in recent days after a report last week Tillerson called the president a "moron" and almost resigned. The most recent nuclear-posture review came in 2010 under President Barack Obama with the express goal of reducing weapons stockpiles.

Trump's threat to challenge the broadcast licences that NBC holds with the FCC for its owned-and-operated stations recalls President Richard Nixon's similar threats against the Washington Post's parent company at the height of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. But that's a different story.

Trump's previous comments about nuclear weapons have caused confusion and concern in some quarters.

Does Trump want a Ministry of Truth? "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and someone should look into it".

Trump has received plenty of criticism from the left.

"The founders of our nation set as a cornerstone of our democracy the First Amendment, forever enshrining and protecting freedom of the press", Gordon Smith, the CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and a former Republican senator, told The Hill.

Trump's morning tweets came after NBC News reported that Trump purportedly told senior national security advisers during a meeting last summer that he favored what amounted to almost a tenfold increase in nuclear weapons. "That's the only thing I've ever discussed", he continued. "Don't misunderstand. But I don't think that it is useful or helpful for anybody employee anywhere to be be forced to do something because the government says they must", Libaugh said.

"I want to have absolutely, perfectly maintained - which we are in the process of doing - nuclear force", he said.

The FCC is an independent agency and is not supposed to take orders from the White House, even though the president is responsible for nominating FCC commissioners and selecting the chairperson.