Trump Wanted Dramatic Increase in Nuclear Arsenal in Meeting With Military Leaders

Trump, long obsessed with nuclear weapons, wants 28000 more

News said the president called for the increase after he was shown a chart indicating the stockpile of United States nuclear weapons had slid from a high of 32,000 in the 1960s.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday 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.

His comments "came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of USA nuclear weapons since the late 1960s".

"Recent reports that the President called for an increase in the US nuclear arsenal are absolutely false", Mattis said without naming NBC.

"Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve", NBC reported. That came just over a month after Trump responded to a North Korean missile test by telling reporters that if the regime of Kim Jong-un issues further threats, the US will retaliate with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

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The July 20 meeting came a day after another one that left national security officials stunned.

"It's frankly disgusting, the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write", Trump said.

"The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide USA forces and operations", NBC reported.

Mr. Trump made the comment during an interview with Forbes magazine while responding to unverified claims that the Secretary of State had called the president a "moron". "It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump was a "moron".

The threat provoked widespread anger on social media and elsewhere with many attacking the president for directly challenging the First Amendment, which guarantees the freedom of the press. Trump said he wanted to have that same number now, NBC reported.

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