Tillerson 'Moron' Comment Followed Trump's Call for Massive Nuclear Buildup

Tillerson 'Moron' Comment Followed Trump's Call for Massive Nuclear Buildup

President Trump again slammed NBC News on Wednesday, this time after a new report alleged Trump wanted a "tenfold increase" to the US nuclear arsenal. He said he simply wants the arsenal to be in "tip-top shape" and "perfect shape".

"I'm a person in the West Wing who has actually never uttered the word 'fake news, ' 'enemy of the people, ' 'opposition party, '" she said.

Asked for a response to the president's comments, a White House official speaking only on the condition of anonymity, said that the nuclear arsenal was not a primary topic of the briefing.

The president's denial was buttressed by a statement from his defence chief.

The president's outburst followed a succession of critical stories coming from NBC, which reported last week that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called him a "moron", then followed up Wednesday with the reason why: During a July meeting at the Pentagon, Trump called for a tenfold increase in the nuclear arsenal. "This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible".

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 US troops and military equipment. The Federation of American Scientists says the United States now has about 4,000 nuclear warheads earmarked for use in its military stockpile. That came just over a month after Trump responded to a North Korean missile test by telling reporters that if the regime of Kim Jong-un issues further threats, the USA will retaliate with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

The first report suggested secretary of state Tillerson had emerged from the gathering calling the president a "moron" - they repeated that claim today too.

The NBC report comes during a time of high tension between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs, and just ahead of an expected announcement from Mr Trump on whether to decertify the global deal on Iran's nuclear programme.



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