Trump wanted tenfold increase in nuclear weapons, says network

Trump, long obsessed with nuclear weapons, wants 28000 more

"Recent reports that the President called for an increase in the US nuclear arsenal are absolutely false", Mattis said without naming NBC.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis responded Wednesday to an NBC report that President Trump wanted to increase the US nuclear arsenal tenfold.

NBC had earlier posted a story alleging the president told a meeting of national security leaders in July that he wanted "what amounted to a almost tenfold increase in the USA nuclear arsenal". USA news reports have painted the relationship between Mr Trump and Mr Tillerson as tense. The article said after Trump saw the slide he said he wanted a bigger stockpile of weapons, not the bottom position on the downward-sloping curve.

Trump has been pushing back against a recent NBC News story that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson considered resigning during the summer and that Tillerson had called Trump a "moron."

It was the second time in a week that NBC had referenced the July meeting.




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.

The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide USA forces and operations.

Citing "three officials who were in the room", NBC reports Trump indicated during the meeting that he wants to expand America's arsenal of nuclear weapons to about 32,000 - a huge increase from the current stockpile of about 4,000. "Pure fiction, made up to demean", Trump tweeted.

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.

Trump's reported desire for a dramatic expansion of America's nuclear arsenal comes at a time of heightening tensions between the United States and North Korea.

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