President-elect Donald Trump has set Washington atwitter again with a cryptic and seemingly unprompted pronouncement about the necessity to expand the US' nuclear capabilities. “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump tweeted on Thursday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the president-elect blasted the UN Security Council over an “unfair” draft resolution regarding Israel and reiterated his commitment to “draining the swamp” in Washington. He offered no indication as to what might have prompted remarks about nuclear weapons.
Thursday’s tweet seems to diverge from Trump’s public position on nuclear weapons that he expressed during the campaign. The billionaire businessman campaigned on a platform of rebuilding the US military while cutting taxes and reining in federal spending. He was critical of outgoing President Barack Obama’s plan to modernize the US “nuclear triad,” estimated to cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years.
“I don't want more nuclear weapons,” Trump had told CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a town hall in March. “We are not keeping up with other countries,” Trump said during the first presidential debate in September. “I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike.”