Did ‘moron’ Trump suggest a ten fold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal?

Things just seem to go from bad to worse for the beleaguered leader of the free world. This week’s omnishambles is the revelation that the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a moron. NBC news reports:

President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room.

Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.

According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the buildup. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.

The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide U.S. forces and operations. It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump is a “moron.”

 

 

And to add to Trump’s misery most of the media discussion has been around did Rex Tillerson call him a Moron or a F’ing moron?:

 

In response to the scandal, The Donald in true presidential fashioned challenged Tillerson to an intelligence test.

“I think it’s fake news,” Mr Trump told Forbes, “but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

Mr Trump had lunch on Tuesday with Mr Tillerson.

And for good measure today he is threatening NBC:

In other news, Donald seems to be preparing the ground to sack his Chief Of Staff John Kelly. Politico reports:

Pesident Donald Trump on Tuesday night rebuffed what he said was a news report claiming that his chief of staff “will soon be fired,” even though there appeared to be no such reporting by the national media.

“The Fake News is at it again, this time trying to hurt one of the finest people I know, General John Kelly, by saying he will soon be fired,” the president tweeted, without citing any media outlet.

For political junkies, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving.

,

  • Marcus Orr

    Trump may or may not have a low IQ, but he certainly has a certain political acumen and a “streetwise” sense that ensures that however much he speaks like a lout, he continues to nail the issues that count. The latest was the kneeling issue for NFL players – Trump seemingly embarrasses himself and destroys the conservative position by referring to some of these players as “SOB’s”. 2 weeks later, the NFL climbs down and their chief executive, who was very comfortable with these protests 2 weeks ago, now announces that all the players have to stand. Trump 1 NFL 0

  • Brian O’Neill

    Indeed. He does seem to defy all political predication of his demise. You have to hand it to him, he is a survivor.

  • Sub

    Trump is mentally unstable and is totally unsuited to the role he is in. Every day he remains in office brings shame on the USA

  • A Bit Left and a Bit Lost

    I am not so sure about giving him praise for defying his demise. It’s hard to dislodge an incumbent President.

    Intellectually, I think Nigel Farage would run rings around him (to me he’s the closest equivalent we have to a Trump this side of the Atlantic).

  • Marcus Orr

    He is in tune with the electorate, as simple as that. He knew that 70% of Americans are very unhappy that mega rich NFL players choose their place of work, in front of millions of citizens of all political persuasions, and choose the US flag and National anthem, as the focus of their protest. So he challenged them, they reacted, the people immediately let the players see that they agreed to a large extent with Trump on the issue, and they have to back down now. I don’t know how he does it, but he does it, you have to hand it to him, he is very far from being stupid.

  • mickfealty

    Erm, Brian, there is such a thing as leading the witness, into trouble in this case. We have a commenting rule on playing the ball rather than the man.

    I know Andrew Neil started it, but anyone taking their cue from your piece would run into trouble on that score. Can we at least reskin the provocative title.

  • Pang

    With a title like that, I think a vote would be better than a comments section.

  • hgreen

    Except the kneel protest is growing and spreading across multiple sports. Trump 0 NFL 1

  • hgreen

    He’s rich.

  • hgreen

    Mmm he lost the popular vote and my guess is he’d get a lower vote now.

  • Marcus Orr

    You clearly didn’t see what happened at the Bears – Packers game a week ago.

    And the backdown of NFL chief Goodall – the guy who was 100% behind the players protest just 2 weeks ago, when Trump’s speech took place.

    So just to get you up to date on current affairs:

    http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article178071036.html

  • hgreen

    Do many supporters tune in to watch chief Goodall?

  • Brian O’Neill

    Ah your no fun. Title changed.

  • Zorin001

    It doesn’t help to elevate the conditions that led (and continue to lead) to these protest though, although to be fair to Trump a politician of the highest caliber would struggle with that.

    Trump knows his base and he knows how to play to it, if that is conducive to getting things done or actually uniting America is a different story.

    I certainly don’t think Trump is stupid but I think he’s temperamentally unsuited to actually leading a Democracy rather than a business (and there’s enough evidence he’s not as good as that as he claims)

  • Marcus Orr

    No, but his letter ensures that the NFL teams have to fall into line now. Teams are scared because they’ve noticed the ratings drop coming from unhappy fans concerning the players with their “watch us doing our political shenigans”. His letter ensures that players will be discouraged from their political protests on jobtime from now on.
    So you are admitting that you were unaware that in the first big test of the anti-Trump NFL front (the Bears Packers Thursday night game a week ago) that 90% of the Packers fans rejected the Packers players plea to lock arms during the anthem ?
    Please, at least be just a little up to date on current affairs.

  • the rich get richer

    I’d say long term Trump will be feted as a super hero .

    The election of Trump showed up all the other politicians as being useless and out of touch .

    When the electorate are that desperate that they have to turn to Donald Trump then it cannot be any clearer that the other politicians are absolutely useless .

    Donald Trump an unlikely hero but yes a hero all the same.

    Last nights revelations about the Assembly Speaker are a stark example of what politicians are all about .

    Hail Trump he has shown politicians for what they are .

  • Brian O’Neill

    It’s more that I thought he would throw the head up and resign by now.

    There is lots of reports of how miserable he finds the whole experience.

  • Marcus Orr

    Why do you think the popular vote is somehow interesting or important ?
    In California, all the conservatives never bothered voting, because they knew it’s a waste of time, the Dems will obviously win all 57 electoral votes whatever happens – Trump lost by 4.5 million votes to Clinton in California, so that means Trump won the popular vote if we exclude that one state. Obviously the republicans would have had 2-3 million more votes there if their vote would have meant anything (i.e. if the rules were different, popular vote instead of electoral college). Same effect in New York obviously.
    Trump did something really strange in that election, he campaigned in all the swing states, and lo and behold, he actually won nearly all of them. i.e. he played according to the electoral rules known and in operation, and won fair and square according to those rules. Obviously, if the rules in the USA were entirely different, and if the popular vote would actually mean anything over there (it doesn’t) Trump would have campaigned in the downtrodden economic areas of California and New York state instead – and would have won the popular vote and the election. As it is, he played and won according to the rules in operation, and subsequently (to use the title of this article) some morons (but not f**king morons) claimed that he should have lost because of the popular vote. Ridiculous. Laughable. Downright silly. But there you are.

  • Zorin001

    He was cute enough to raise the NFL issue (which had faded from public discourse somewhat) to provide cover with the problems he was having with Obamacare and other Legislative issues. He shows enough acumen to be able to shift the conversation to what he wants to cover his failures. He’s not stupid certainly.

    However it’s all short-term with Trump and I still see no overarching strategy with him and so far as I can see little thought to long term consequences. Is making hay on what is already a racially divisive issue good for the Nation?

  • Zorin001

    He won’t resign, he couldn’t bare to be seen as a failure

  • Marcus Orr

    I think that I agree with you that this may well have been a feint from Trump to deflect from other problems he’s having.
    As for overarching strategy, I’m not sure either that he actually knows what “overarching” means. And I’m also rather disgusted when he comes out with “SOB” comments – rather disappointing tone for an American president I reckon.
    And yet, the interesting thing is that the Republicans have sent moderately conservative candidates into the fray for years (the Romney’s and the McCain’s etc) and those moderate conservative candidates have been soundly denounced by CNN / MSNBC / USA Today / Washington Post / NY Times as dangerous right-wingers, and thus been defeated easily. Somehow Trump, who is not even a true conservative (he supported the Clintons & Obama up until 2012) has become politically activated towards the right on the immigration issue and has since – though he often shows that he doesn’t even really know what he’s saying – played the left-leaning US media like a pro. He does have a streetwise understanding that shows he knows that when CNN starts to talk about the abortion issue with candidates, or the LGBT issue, that their sole purpose is to trap the stupid conservative into making an “insensitive” comment. He gets that they are biased (an obvious fact), and plays them by rubbing their bias back in their own faces – by making super “insensitive” comments – he’s basically laughing back at CNN, and showing them that he understands the cheap game they’re playing. A large amount of the republican base get what he’s getting at (though not necessarily agreeing with all of his antics) and so he ends up winning the point, even though his behaviour and language leave, how shall I say, much to be desired…

  • notimetoshine

    What I find shocking with Trump is that he is either unwilling or unable to address the very real issues that drive the NFL protests.

    I think it was a very powerful protest and I (surprisingly because I find professional sports people as a rule to be loathsome) have huge respect for those players. It is some thing to protest at, especially given the quasi religious nature of the American public’s relationship with the flag.

    It shows the inherent limitations of the presidency of Trump and his cohort of clowns. He seems to have no understanding of why Black Americans might not hold ‘the flag’ with such reverence.

  • Zorin001

    I agree with a lot of that, but I think It’s a dangerous game for the leader of the USA to be playing, I’m not joking that I could see a real upswing in civil strife should we get the whole 8 years of a Trump presidency (or similar acolyte).

    The real joke is that it is becoming apparent that by running with Trump the Republican establishment has taken a viper to its breast, look at Steve Bannons insurgency campaign to unseat more traditional conservatives with more “alt-right” leaning and Breitbart approved candidates. While the Democrats lost the election it could end up that the old school Republican Party of Nixon and Goldwater is the loser long term.

  • Zorin001

    Race has poisoned the US since the very beginning and it’s never been properly addressed, not really at a fundamental level. For some it was enough to say “you have Civil Rights now so everything is sorted” but the legacy of slavery still has a real impact on Black America 150 years later.

  • Zorin001

    On the flip side I believe there’s evidence that Hilary as candidate actually suppressed the Democrat vote, especially amongst the Black community. With a more inspiring candidate it’s more than likely (I personally think a certainty) that Trump would have lost. I personally think Biden was the man to go with if they were determined to pick an establishment candidate, but it was seen as Hilary’s turn I guess.

  • Hawk

    Have you considered another narrative, that Trump might be a lot smarter than perhaps the vast majority of us realise?

    I think because we see chaos, because we don’t understand the fights he picks, or the reasons why, it’s an easy assumption that there is no method behind the ‘madness’.

    I think to assume he doesn’t know what he is doing, or that it’s not working, might be a bit foolhardy.

  • Marcus Orr

    Agree with you that Hilary was a weak candidate that may have suppressed the Dem vote considerably.

  • Surveyor

    There’s a high risk of NFL players suffering from CTE in later life. The fans should give the players a bit of leeway in regard to kneeling, because no players no NFL.

    It says a lot about Trump also that he’s more concerned with kneeling than the easy availability of weapons in his country.

  • Zorin001

    I actually found Trump’s comments around CTE more disturbing than around the protests considering we have so much evidence of permanent Brain damage in even young players.

  • hgreen

    Ooo listen to you with the ad hominem. You didn’t address my point that the protest is spreading and spreading to multiple sports. Just because a bunch of good ole boy white owners are breaking from the players doesn’t mean the protest is over or fading.

  • Marcus Orr

    The fans don’t have to give the players any leeway as regards to their kneeling protests. They are all paying a heck of a lot of their own hard earned money to support their favourite team once a week and enjoy themselves and most of all escape from real life and political stuff. They know very well that they are free to protest and demonstrate in the US in their own time, just like the players are. But they also know if they started political protests during worktime, their employers would tell them to stop and do their political stuff during their own time. They are rightly miffed that a pack of multi millionaires think that they can stuff their political protests down the throats of all the fans while they’re doing their job. And the fans have indicated they’ll stop going if said highly paid posers don’t wise up. And lo and behold, money talks, the NFL commissioner has ordered them to stop.

  • hgreen

    Thanks for the essay but again you fail to address or understand the point I made.

  • Marcus Orr

    An ad hominem is when you attack the man rather than the issue – but you have already demonstrated by your uninformed comments that the NFL players are winning the battle vs. Trump that you aren’t up to date at all on this issue, so unfortunately for you I was just stating a fact, not attacking your person – come on now I’m sure you can do a bit better than that, can’t you?

  • hgreen

    Well actually the protest was petering out until Trumps Alabama speech in September after which the protests spread. So I think you appear to be uninformed. But keep talking about owners and fans if you want but I see no evidence of the players backing down.

  • notimetoshine

    I think you are right, it has only ever been addressed in a piecemeal fashion. I suppose it is just too hard for Americans to accept the reality of their Nation. There is such a mythos built up around the ideas of American freedom and the exceptionalism of their nation, that they seem to forget that “… all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was a blatant lie.

    In fairness to Trump no American president (not even Obama) has really tried to address the structural racism that is ever present in US society. The problem with Trump is that the complicated issues around Race in the US are just too complicated for his brand of simple politics for simple people.

    I am always surprised at the restraint shown by Black America in the face of repeated, concerted insults and provocations. Taking a knee during the anthem (while in American terms quite provocative), is quite mild on the scale of resistance.

  • William Kinmont

    From a distance it all looks like a war between Trump and the media or Trump and the left. with Trump selling himself as the victim on the side of working-class . Simple and repetitive just like Great Again,
    Where is the champion of the democrats to make hay of all his faux pas?
    Has he skillfully avoided them denying them any publicity. Should the media not be championing some anti trump hero . (Apart from obama)

  • hgreen

    So joe six pack just wants the black man to entertain him not make him feel uncomfortable about “political stuff”? Having an anthem before any game is a political action.

  • Zorin001

    ” The problem with Trump is that the complicated issues around Race in the US are just too complicated for his brand of simple politics for simple people.”

    Nail on head, and also why his dog whistling with this issue is potentially so dangerous.

    My worry is you will see the racial rhetoric ramp up in conjunction with the Russia investigation should he want to deflect the heat. That or an actual war with Iran of North Korea.

  • mickfealty

    Known for it Brian… 😉

  • Surveyor

    Well technically they’re not working when they’re lining up for the National anthem, work time only begins when the 1st quarter commences. It would be interesting though if they took a knee 5 yards from a touchdown opportunity. Wonder what the reaction would be then.

    Also the head of a country issuing threats to his/her people to act in a certain way or else are normally considered to be dangerous dictators by the American administration.

    Classic hypocrisy on show once again.

  • Starviking

    The US had massive amounts of nukes in the 60s because they had a lot of tactical nukes – for missiles to kill Soviet bombers, Soviet tank formations, and for torpedos to kill their subs.

    It was the only way at the time to ensure stopping the Soviet juggernaut, as weapons guidance wasn’t accurate enough to ensure hitting the enemy decisively.

    The improvement in electronics since then resuted in a major improvement in guidance – and so the vast majority of those tactical nukes were not needed to achieve the mission they were tasked with. Getting rid of them was a double-win: the expense of maintaining them was removed, and the chances of an unforseen clash escallating towards nuclear war was removed.

    Trump may or may not have a high IQ, but he has the depth of chalked pond on a pavement, and the attention span of a goldfish (for those matters which do not relate directly to his ego).

  • Zorin001

    I think the Dems are still digesting what happened and aren’t sure how to address the very real disillusionment that lead to the Trump win. I know there’s a couple who have been raising their profile (Kamala Harris for one) but the Dems are definitely trying to avoid the grassroots insurgency that’s hitting the establishment Republicans.

    The Dems hold some aces though, the minority vote is likely there’s for the foreseeable so they need to concentrate on winning back enough of the white working class. They need to address the economic concerns of these voters to stand a chance so they need to step back from being seen as Wall Street boosters.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    One of the significant things in this was the widespread awareness in the US that the Clintons and Trump appear to have been friendly enough to socialise and even holiday together. This went a long way to destabilising any commitment by liberals in the states who, while unwilling to usually credit conspiracy theory, were beginning to wonder about just how the US was being run with such a tight knit circle controlling its political core.

  • Gopher

    Interestingly since “Moron” Trump came to power the campaign to eliminate ISIS as a geographical entity and save various minoritys like Yazidis, Christains and Kurds has been turbo charged compared to the last administrations ambivalence to their protection. In the middle of that he also managed to put a break on Syrian use of chemical weapons against their own people. Whether that achievement comes from any inteligence I dont know but I can show you the never ending newspaper columns especially those of the Guardian slamming the Obama administration for the fiasco of Syria and you guys have stratospheric regard for both Obama and the Guardian.

  • anon

    It’s okay Brian, the URL for the piece contains the glorious original.

  • ChequerChesireCat

    The number of nuclear weapons they have is already enough to wipe out the vast majority of life of the planet. What purpose does he think increasing it tenfold will do other than massively redirect military resources to a weapon that will never be used?

    MAD policy still stands, a first strike is still unwinnable so increasingly the stockpile will make no difference whatsoever (only breakthroughs in anti-missile technology would prompt another arms race). This is just, and excuse my language, a cock measurement competition and not even to goad Russia but North Korea who can’t match the capability anyway and Iran who by everyone except Trump’s standards is complying with the agreement.

    No doubt the military will advise against it (they don’t want to be lumbered with nukes they can’t use for their real operations) but Trump might have just got it into his head that military needs bombs, bombs=good, therefore bigger bombs must be better, as if warfare hasn’t changed since WW1.

  • Zorin001

    The interesting thing about this though was that it sent some of his alt-Right supporters into a tizzy, dead-set as they are against foreign intervention. One of the first visible cracks in the relationship with the GOP establishment, who they blamed for “mis-advising” the President.

    Obama should have bombed Syria once they broke the Chemical weapons redline, he was poor when it came to Syria and Iraq no doubt..

  • hgreen

    Yes bomb innocent children in Syria first ask questions later.

  • Zorin001

    If you make a redline in international diplomacy, especially with regards to a war situation then you have to stick by it, else you lose any authority over the other party.

    I wasn’t passing a moral judgement on it but its realpolitik. Syria was and is an absolute mire and it was cackhanded from the start.

  • Gopher

    I wrote a piece for Mick a couple of years ago which was not published when the Kurds were fighting for their very lives in Kobane. The central thrust of the argument was that In such a complex environment as Syria when you have a vicious enemy at the end of a convoluted supply line in combat in the open with a potential ally that actually fights, that passing up that opportunity to destroy them with minimal military and especially civilian casualties was political cowardice of the worst kind. I pointed out that Raqqa would have to be taken before Assad and the Russians to ensure political leverage for a fair and more importantly safe settlement. Killing members of ISIS in the plains before Kobane is simpler the killing ISiS with a year to fortify themselves operating with the civilian populace as shields in an urban environment. Timidity before Kobane by the Obama administration has cost countless lives as ever in a protracted conflict these tend to fall proportionately more among civilians.