Mattis slams 'false' reports on Trump request for nuclear arms hike

Glen Mclaughlin
October 12, 2017

Conway delivered her comments shortly after Trump posted tweets criticizing NBC in response to the network's report that he'd asked for a tenfold increase in the USA nuclear arsenal this past summer.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday took aim at TV network NBC, suggesting in a tweet that the Federal Communications Commission revoke the broadcasters license. That was the same meeting after which Tillerson allegedly called the president a "moron", something both Trump and the State Department denied him ever saying.

He continued, "With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License?"

A White House officials told NBC the nuclear arsenal was not the meeting's primary topic, and Pentagon spokesperson Dana White commented that Defense Secretary James Mattis "has many closed sessions with the president and his cabinet members".

"I never said that", he said during a news briefing with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He said he simply wants the arsenal to be in "tip-top shape" and "perfect shape".

"Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a "tenfold" increase in our US nuclear arsenal", Trump wrote.

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"In suggesting that a broadcast network's license be targeted because of its coverage, Mr. Trump once again evoked the Watergate era when President Richard M. Nixon told advisers to make it hard for The Washington Post to renew the FCC license for a Florida television station it owned", The New York Times said in its report on the tweet.

Trump has often called for increased military spending, and on the day after the July 20 meeting he signed an executive order directing a review about whether the country's military suppliers could keep the military stocked during war time.

Trump's comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of us nuclear weapons since the late 1960s.

Comments like the above, and actions such as threatening NBC's broadcast license in reaction to a negative story, have led some journalists and observers to question whether Trump respects the freedom of the press guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Although US presidents have modernised weapon stockpiles over the years, any meaningful addition to the nuclear arsenal would violate treaty agreements.

The president's suggestion is unlikely to do much to ease his frustrations. "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and someone should look into it". Two people familiar with the discussion said the meeting was unproductive to the point that advisers chose to continue the talks the next day at the Pentagon with a smaller group.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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