Mattis: Report that Trump Wanted Tenfold Nuclear Increase 'Absolutely False' and 'Irresponsible'

Trump, long obsessed with nuclear weapons, wants 28000 more

US President Donald Trump tore into the press and questioned whether broadcasters should have their licenses revoked Wednesday, after an unflattering story about his nuclear policy.

In his tweet earlier in the day Trump raised the possibility of the broadcast licenses of NBC and other networks being challenged.

The Executive Director of the First Amendment Coalition, David Snyder, told Newsweek the comment from Trump was something more akin to a statement "the leader of some authoritarian country would make".

The suggestion was made on Twitter after NBC News reported early Wednesday that the president wanted to expand the US nuclear arsenal tenfold over the summer and suggested as much in a meeting with high-ranking national security officials.

Trump denied that he made the request.

Tensions between the USA and North Korea have intensified in recent months as the Trump administration has struggled to rein in Kim Jong-un's expanding nuclear and ballistic weapons programme.

In a statement released by the Department of Defense (DoD), Mattis said the article was "absolutely false" and that "this kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible".

After the meeting in July, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to Trump as a "moron", according to NBC.

'Only One Thing Will Work' Against North Korea
He tweeted about it again, this time decrying 25 years of U.S. foreign policy in dealing with the perceived North Korean threat. Speaking to reporters on Saturday ahead of a trip to North Carolina, Trump said he had nothing more to clarify.

NBC News reported that Trump told his top generals that the US military's nuclear arsenal should be beefed up by a factor of ten, an observation that shocked senior military officers.

Donald Trump reacted angrily on Wednesday to an NBC News report that claimed he asked the top Pentagon brass for a massive nuclear arms buildup.

During a joint meeting with Canadian Prime Minsiter Justin Trudeau at the White House Trump said that the current nuclear arsenal of the United States is already sufficient, and that no increase is needed.

"Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve", NBC reported.

It's not the first time Trump has threatened news organizations that are critical of him.

Trump's reported desire for a dramatic expansion of America's nuclear arsenal comes at a time of heightening tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The communications agency issues broadcast licenses to individual stations and local affiliates which then carry the programming offered by national news networks.

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