George Takei pulled no punches in response to Donald Trump’s statement about increasing the United States’ nuclear arms stockpile. Takei, a Japanese-American actor and activist, tweeted about his personal loss due to nuclear arms and how Trump needs a wake-up call.
The Star Trek actor found Trump’s nuclear threat especially serious considering Takei had family that was killed when nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. So many people died instantly in Hiroshima that it’s difficult to get an exact number, but Huffington Post reports that by the end of 1945 more than 140,000 people had died due to nuclear fallout and illness caused by the bombs.
On Thursday, the same day President-elect Trump tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Takei issued a sobering response tweet. “Trump wants to expand our nuclear arsenal. I think of my aunt and baby cousin, found burnt in a ditch in Hiroshima. These weapons must go,” Takei said.
Takei isn’t the only one disturbed by Trump’s newfound nuclear plan. Trump’s tweet, which appears unprovoked in relation to recent world events or questions aimed at the president-elect, marks a stark departure from the United States nuclear armament practices since the Cold War.
According to Politico, Trump’s statement about expanding the country’s nuclear capability threatens the U.S.’ longstanding nonproliferation agreement. Trump didn’t offer any other details on Twitter, but he did double down on increasing nuclear armaments on MSNBC’s Morning Joe during a phone interview Friday morning.
Trump phoned in to Morning Joe and said, “Let it be an arms race…we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” It is unclear who “them” are in Trump’s statement without context, but based on his campaign rhetoric the president-elect could theoretically be talking about ISIS. However, Trump did not expand on his comments.
Although Trump remains vague on his nuclear stance, he left his surrogates to try and explain away the fears of the American public. Sean Spicer, Trump’s recent pick for White House press secretary, told Matt Lauer that there wasn’t going to be an “arms race” but declined to elaborate on the context of Trump’s original nuclear arms statement.
Trump’s ambiguous opinion about nuclear armament has left many people, politicians and citizens alike, with a fear of increased nuclear weapons. Preventing nuclear escalation is one of the few issues that garners bipartisan support, but Trump has been known to sway established positions in the past.
Takei has maintained an anti-Trump stance both before and after the November 8 election. In November, Takei took a stand against Trump’s campaign promise of creating a registry for Muslim people. Takei, who was forced to live in a Japanese internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor, saw the Muslim registry as another way to demonize groups of people.
“Let us all be clear: “National security” must never again be permitted to justify wholesale denial of constitutional rights and protections. If it is freedom and our way of life that we fight for, our first obligation is to ensure that our own government adheres to those principles. Without that, we are no better than our enemies,” Takei wrote in an editorial for the Washington Post. “Let us also agree that ethnic or religious discrimination cannot be justified by calls for greater security.”
Earlier this year, Barack Obama was the first president to visit Hiroshima and met with survivors of the nuclear blast. Obama mourned the lives lost in Hiroshima and gave a speech. “Amongst those nations like my own that own nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them,” President Obama stated.
At the time of Obama’s visit, Takei praised the president’s stance on nuclear weapons. Takei wrote, “I share Obama’s call for a nuclear-free world. We must pledge to work closely with other powers, to reduce not only the number of weapons in our arsenals, but also the numbers of states bearing or seeking to bear them.”
[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]