Defense Secretary Mattis Calls NBC Article on Nuclear Arsenal 'False' and 'Irresponsible'

NewsPoliticsTrump threatens to shut down NBC over this story Jack Peat

NewsPoliticsTrump threatens to shut down NBC over this story Jack Peat

After being shown an image charting the steadily falling size of the USA nuclear arsenal since the height of the Cold War during a meeting with top national security officials in July, President Donald Trump reportedly expressed support for a tenfold expansion of America's stockpile of nukes-a move critics said would spark a "global arms race" and dramatically increase the threat of a nuclear catastrophe. He then asked, "at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License?"

Trump's alleged desire for a larger US nuclear arsenal is, according to reports, what caused Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to call the president a "moron".

Trump denied that he made the request.

The President's denial was buttressed by a statement from his defence chief.

Although US presidents have modernised weapon stockpiles over the years, any meaningful addition to the nuclear arsenal would violate treaty agreements.

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According to NBC, Trump's comments surprised officials - including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was overheard calling Trump a "moron" shortly after the meeting adjourned.

"It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it", Trump said to a group of reporters on Wednesday.

Trump lashed out at NBC News over a report indicating that he'd called for a drastic expansion of the US nuclear arsenal.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dismissed an NBC News article last week claiming he had considered resigning.

In the past week, Trump has called The New York Times "failing", said ESPN's ratings have "tanked" and posted a video that began with: "What the fake news media will not show you in Puerto Rico".

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The US Constitution is understood to guarantee press freedom, but television networks rely on access to broadcast frequencies granted by government agencies.

Noting that Trump greatly benefits from a free press, the Reliable Sources host explained that Trump tends to rip "fake news" when the White House is underperforming.

The article stated that the president wanted what amounted to a almost tenfold increase in the country's nuclear arsenal. "Believe me. Because I know what we have right now", Trump said. Trump proposed increasing our nuclear arsenal by 10 times.

The FCC is an independent U.S. agency that issues spectrum licenses to television broadcasters.

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