Trump wanted tenfold increase in nuclear weapons, says network


US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (Oct 11) denied a report from NBC News that he told his national security advisers in July he wanted to increase the country's nuclear arsenal by almost tenfold, saying he argued for its modernisation.

Shortly after Trump spoke, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a two-sentence statement saying the news report was false and irresponsible.

NBC had earlier posted a story alleging the president told a meeting of national security leaders in July that he wanted "what amounted to a almost tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenal".

Trump denied on Wednesday afternoon that he ever suggested the United States increase its nuclear arsenal. "If you want me to weigh in against one entity, you can ask the whole Virginia delegation - we won't hardly speak to the Washington Post anymore. Bad for country!" Several hours later, he told pool reporters that "the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write" was "frankly disgusting".

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. 'Pure fiction, made up to demean.

Last week, Trump similarly blasted NBC News as "fake" after it reported that Tillerson called Trump a "moron".

Trump's reported interest in massively increasing America's nuclear arsenal also drew widespread criticism, despite his denials.

While it seems unlikely that NBC stations would lose licenses because of presidential interference, Democrats in Congress expressed concern that Trump could succeed in attempts to infringe upon the freedom of the press.

"Under deregulatory measures that Republicans successfully pushed over the past generation, challenging a license on the grounds that coverage is unfair or biased would be extremely hard", the newspaper reported. Trump said his administration would "look at breaking that deal up", but hasn't followed through on the threat. He's just shouting that it isn't true, from the bully pulpit of the White House, and suggesting that NBC should be silenced.

Since November, Conway has blasted at least three news stories on Twitter as "fake news", including a New York Times article about her tendency to publicly discuss Trump's private thinking.