Things that make you go hmmm
President Donald Trump bragged about his popularity and dismissed the New START nuclear reduction treaty as a bad deal for the U.S. during his phone call last weekend with Russian President Vladimir Putin, three U.S. officials familiar with the conversation told Reuters:
When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.
Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said.
The White House declined to comment. It referred Reuters to the official White House account issued after the Jan. 28 call, which did not mention the discussion about New START. [Reuters]
New START is a 2010 treaty that required the United States and Russia to reduce their respective nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550 by February 2018, which would be "the lowest level in decades," Reuters reports. Additionally, both parties would curb deployed land and submarine missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump also criticized the treaty, although his misidentified it as "START-Up" and falsely alleged that it allowed Russia to continue to make warheads while the United States could not.