Days before millions celebrate the holidays with their families, Donald Trump is talking about a nuclear arms race. Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to announce his plans to help strengthen the country’s nuclear capability, and on Friday morning, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski reported that Trump was willing to do whatever it takes for the U.S. to remain the most powerful country in the world.
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) December 23, 2016
Trump saying the U.S. will “outmatch them at every pass” is believed to be a response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statements made at a press conference on Thursday. Yahoo News reported that Putin discussed Russia’s nuclear weapons defense system and military presence in Syria.
“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems,” Putin said.
On Thursday Sean Spicer was appointed to Trump’s cabinet to serve as press secretary. Spicer appeared on CNN Friday morning to explain Trump’s tweet about nuclear weapons.
“It means that there are countries around the globe right now that are talking about increasing their nuclear capacity and the U.S. is not going to sit back and allow that to happen,” Spicer said. “The president is going to put our nation’s security and safety first.”
Jason Miller, who was recently appointed as Trump’s communication director, released a statement in an attempt to clarify Trump’s tweet about improving U.S. nuclear weapons.
“President-elect 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,” Miller said.
John Tierney, executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, released a statement condemning Trump’s tweet while calling it extremely foolish.
“It is dangerous for the President-elect to use just 140 characters and announce a major change in U.S. nuclear weapons policy, which is nuanced, complex, and affects every single person on this planet,” Tierney said. “The potential consequences of changing U.S. nuclear weapons policy so drastically are simply unimaginable.”
According to the International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the U.S. has 6,970 warheads and spends more money on its nuclear arsenal than every other country combined. Russia has 7,300 warheads and has been competing with the U.S. while trying to modernize its nuclear arsenal and improving their warheads’ accuracy and precision.
Politico reports that Putin was asked about Trump’s nuclear capability tweet at an annual press conference on Friday. Putin appeared to hint at having no interest in a nuclear arms race with the U.S.
“Of course the U.S. has more missiles, submarines and aircraft carriers, but what we say is that we are stronger than any aggressor, and this is the case. As for Donald Trump, there is nothing new about it, during his elections campaign he said the U.S. needs to bolster its nuclear capabilities and its armed forces in general.”
The U.S. and Russia have 92 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.
Despite the doomsday reactions from Trump’s harshest critics, Kellyanne Conway sat down with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow saying that Trump isn’t trying to change nuclear policy on Twitter.
“In a perfect world, Rachel, we wouldn’t have any nuclear weapons, but it’s not a perfect world. In fact, it’s a very dangerous world.”
“I think all the president-elect is saying is that we have to be able to keep ourselves safe and secure,” Conway said. “And when others stop building their nuclear weapons, then we’ll feel more secure in that regard.”
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]