Trump warns 'disgusting' press after nuclear policy report

Saul Bowman
October 12, 2017

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he wants the USA nuclear arsenal in "tiptop shape" but has not asked that it be greatly expanded. "That was just fake news by NBC, which gives a lot of fake news lately", Trump said when asked about the article during a press conference.

Shortly after winning the election, Trump tweeted that America "must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes".

NBC had reported that Trump sought a tenfold increase in the USA nuclear arsenal, something Trump had already denied.

"In suggesting that a broadcast network's license be targeted because of its coverage, Mr. Trump once again evoked the Watergate era when President Richard M. Nixon told advisers to make it hard for The Washington Post to renew the FCC license for a Florida television station it owned", The New York Times said in its report on the tweet.

Trump denied requesting more weapons. Trump said he believed the report of Tillerson's insult was "fake news" but nevertheless challenged Tillerson to an IQ test during an interview with Forbes published earlier this week.

Arms-control experts maintain that an increase in United States arms would spur another arms race with Russian Federation and most likely China and could lead to other countries seeking nuclear capabilities.

Trump's advisers at the July 20 meeting included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were reportedly surprised by Trump's comment. Trump denied the story and suggested the Senate Intelligence Committee investigate "the fake news networks".

The US Constitution is understood to guarantee press freedom, but television networks rely on access to broadcast frequencies granted by government agencies.

While Trump's relationship with the press likely represent a new low among presidents in the modern era, there are parallels.

Trump said that, in his opinion, the press was making up their anonymous sources.

During an address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Mr Trump declared that the U.S. would "totally destroy North Korea" if forced to defend itself or its allies.

The remarks are apparently referencing the Federal Communications Commissions' (FCC) licensing policies, which allow companies like NBC and CNN to use public airwaves to broadcast their programs.

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