Report: Tillerson’s ‘Moron’ Remark Came After Trump Asked For More Nukes

President Donald Trump listens as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

During a July meeting with top national security advisers, President Donald Trump said that he wanted to significantly build up the United States’ nuclear arsenal, NBC News reported Wednesday morning, citing three unnamed officials in the room.

Trump said that he wanted a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear capabilities after seeing a presentation that showed how the U.S. has steadily worked to shrink the nuclear arsenal, according to NBC News. The officials in the room told Trump that it would be very challenging to build up the nuclear arsenal and explained that the U.S. is in a stronger military position than it was when the nuclear stockpile was larger, according to NBC News.

Officials told NBC News that there are no plans to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Some officials in the room told NBC News that they did not interpret Trump’s wish for more nuclear weapons as an order to build up the arsenal and said that the President also said during the meeting that he wanted a general military build-up with more troops and other equipment.

It was after this meeting on July 20 that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was overheard calling Trump a “moron,” per NBC News. However, it’s not clear what exactly prompted Tillerson to label Trump a moron, according to NBC News.

Trump on Wednesday morning denied that he asked for a tenfold increase in the nuclear arsenal and suggested that NBC’s broadcasting license be revoked.

Read NBC News’ full report here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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