WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday he wants the U.S. nuclear arsenal in “tiptop shape” but has not asked that it be greatly expanded.
Trump was responding to a news report that he had said during a meeting at the Pentagon in July that he wanted what amounted to nearly a ten-fold increase in the number of U.S. nuclear weapons.
In remarks in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump denounced the NBC report and said such a big increase was “totally unnecessary.”
“I want to have absolutely, perfectly maintained — which we are in the process of doing — nuclear force,” he said. “But when they said I want 10 times what we have right now, it’s totally unnecessary, believe me, because I know what we have right now. We won’t need an increase but I want modernization and I want total rehabilitation. It’s got to be in tip-top shape.”
By saying he wants to modernize the nuclear force, Trump is referring to moving ahead with a plan he inherited from the Obama administration to develop, build and field new submarines armed with nuclear missiles; new nuclear-capable bomber aircraft and a new fleet of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.