Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmmm

In tense July meeting, Trump reportedly asked for nearly 10 times more U.S. nukes

At the July 20 meeting in the Pentagon that reportedly prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to call President Trump a "moron," Trump told the assembled military and national security leaders that he wanted "what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal," NBC News reported Wednesday, citing "three officials who were in the room." Trump had apparently just been shown a slide charting the decline in the number of America's nuclear weapons since the late 1960s, from about 32,000 nukes to some 4,000 warheads today, and Trump reportedly said he wanted to return to the number America had at its peak.

Tillerson and Trump's other advisers were "surprised" and other officials "rattled by the president's desire for more nuclear weapons and his understanding of other national security issues from the Korean peninsula to Iraq and Afghanistan," NBC News reports, and "officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the build-up." No such buildup is planned, NBC News says, but "officials said they are working to address the president's concerns within the Nuclear Posture Review."

On Tuesday, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warned national security officials they should "realize that speaking to the media about government deliberations is treasonous when it involves national security." As for the leak about the July 20 meeting, "it's unclear which portion of the Pentagon briefing prompted Tillerson to call the president a 'moron' after the meeting broke up and some advisers were gathered around," NBC News says. "Officials who attended the two-hour session said it included a number of tense exchanges." You can read more at NBC News.