A report claims that the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called President Donald Trump a “f**king moron” after he demanded a dramatic increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a recent Pentagon meeting.
According to the report by NBC News, three officials who were present at the Pentagon meeting held on July 20, 2017, said Trump demanded for what nearly amounted to a tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal after he was shown charts documenting the decline in size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal since the 1960s.
Some officials who attended the meeting reportedly said they did not take Trump seriously when he first demanded a tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. However, two officials insisted that Trump intended his request to be taken seriously because he repeated the statement after he was ignored the first time.
He repeated the demand multiple times when bemused aides and officials ignored him.
According to eyewitnesses, Trump’s military and foreign policy advisers were taken aback when he repeatedly made the outlandish request. The joint chiefs of staff and Tillerson were also surprised. Some of the experts tried to explain to Trump why it was not possible for the U.S. military to embark on a dramatic buildup of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. They pointed out the global disarmament and non-proliferation treaties that prevented the U.S. from unilaterally increasing its nuclear arsenal. They also pointed out other issues, such as legal and budgetary constraints.
The officials explained to Trump that despite the decline in the country’s nuclear arsenal, the military is currently better strategically deployed around the world than in the 1960s when the size of the country’s nuclear arsenal peaked. They also noted the more advanced technology at the disposal of the U.S. military that compensates for the decline in the size of the country’s nuclear arsenal.
Joe Cirincione, a nuclear expert, told MSNBC that an attempt to dramatically increase the size of the nation’s nuclear arsenal would only spark a renewed global arms race.
“If he were to increase the numbers, the Russians [and the Chinese] would match him…”
Officials present at the meeting revealed that Trump also asked for more troops and advanced military hardware. He later complained to his aides that there was no plan to help U.S. companies secure mineral rights in Afghanistan.
Officials present at the meeting recalled that Tillerson called Trump a “f**king moron” as the meeting broke up and the officials filed out of the room.
Trump’s request later sparked a debate among senior officials about how well he was familiar with and understood U.S. policy and international treaties restricting the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Others wondered whether he appreciated the physical constraints or understood the budgetary implications of a tenfold increase in the size of the country’s already massive arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The Pentagon meeting was reportedly attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis, General Joseph Dunford (who is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs), Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Undersecretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Stephen Bannon, and Jared Kushner.
Others who attended included Sean Spicer, who was then White House spokesman, and Reince Priebus, who was then Trump’s chief of staff.
[Featured Image by Michael Reynolds/Getty Images]