Update : 11:25a.m.
President Donald Trump responded to NBC’s report.
President Trump sought a dramatic increase in the United States’ nuclear firepower, according to a new report from NBC News, which cites three unnamed officials who claim to have heard Trump air the proposal in person.
“President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room,” said the Wednesday report.
Despite the president’s alleged request, officials told NBC that there is no nuclear expansion on the horizon.
The NBC report states that Trump inquired about boosting the nuclear arsenal after being shown information that the U.S. had steadily depleted its arsenal of nuclear arms, which peaked in size in the 1960s.
According to nuclear weapons expert Joe Cirincione, expanding the nuclear arsenal would have immediate repercussions.
“If he were to increase the numbers, the Russians would match him, and the Chinese,” Cirincione told NBC.
At the conclusion of the meeting, after President Trump had left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson allegedly made his infamous “moron” comment about President Trump.
Trump’s alleged request may not come as much of a surprise to those who have closely followed his political ambitions. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump expressed a belief that more countries attaining nuclear weapons capabilities would not necessarily be a bad thing.
In a 2016 interview with CBS, Trump may have forecast his nuclear policy views by saying that the country should be “unpredictable” with how they handle their nukes.
“Well, it is an absolute last stance,” Trump said of using nuclear arms. “And, you know, I use the word unpredictable. You want to be unpredictable.”