Trump spokesman tries to clarify president-elect's tweet about expanding U.S. nuclear capabilities

Donald Trump nuke tweet has people afraid, confused
(Image credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

Traditionally, presidents-elect don't try to make policy before taking office, because the United States has only one president at a time, and on Thursday, Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller insisted that Trump wasn't trying to set new policy, either, when he tweeted earlier in the day that "the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes." Instead, Miller said, "Trump was referring to the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it — particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes."

If those two statements — expanding nuclear capabilities and preventing nuclear proliferation — don't seem all that similar, Miller said that Trump "has also emphasized the need to improve and modernize our deterrent capability as a vital way to pursue peace through strength." Some nuclear proliferation experts expressed alarm at Trump's apparent call to start expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal, after decades of scaling it down, but most analysts were just confused. "It is completely irresponsible for the president-elect or the president to make changes to U.S. nuclear policy in 140 characters and without understanding the implications of statements like 'expand the capacity,'" said Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association. "He must have leaders around the world trying to guess what he means," Kimball told Reuters. "This is bush league."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us