President Trump says he wants to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal to ensure the country is “top of the pack.” The statement came during an interview Thursday with Reuters:
Trump said in the interview he would like to see a world with no nuclear weapons but expressed concern that the United States has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.”
“I am the first one that would like to see … nobody have nukes, but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.
“It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” Trump said.
Russia has 7,300 warheads and the United States, 6,970, according to the Ploughshares Fund, an anti-nuclear group.
At issue is the New START treaty which is scheduled to go into full effect in 2018. New START limits the number of deployed nuclear arms Russia and the United States can have. Trump did not say whether he wanted to scrap New START but did say it was “a one-sided deal.”
At the daily White House press briefing, spokesman Sean Spicer reaffirmed President Trump’s statements saying, “What he was very clear on is that the United States will not yield its supremacy in this area to anybody.”
During the Reuters interview, Trump also talked about the danger presented by North Korean missile tests. Trump had previously suggested he would consider meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un but said today it was “very late” for such talks. Trump suggested accelerating plans to deliver a missile defense system to our allies Japan and South Korea. He repeated his claim that China could resolve the North Korean threat, “very quickly.”
Reuters does not allow embedding of its news videos but you can listen to portions of the interview here.