Trump’s loose talk on nuclear weapons suddenly very real

first_imgAs a candidate, Trump seemed to shy from nuclear weapons at times, saying the “biggest problem, to me, in the world, is nuclear, and proliferation.”He said using such weapons would be an “absolute last step.”He added in April that, “I will be the last to use nuclear weapons. It’s a horror to use nuclear weapons.”But around the same time, he flirted with the idea of actually allowing more countries – namely Japan – to have nuclear weapons.“Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change, because so many people, you have Pakistan has it, you have China has it,” he said. “You have so many other countries are now having it.”By August 2016, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough claimed that Trump had asked a foreign policy expert what good nuclear weapons were if they weren’t utilized.“Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump,” said Scarborough, who was intermittently friendly and adversarial with Trump. David Petraeus recently expanded upon the downside of the madman strategy.“There may, again, be some merit into the madman theory until you get in a crisis.“But you do not want the other side thinking you are irrational in a crisis.“You do not want the other side thinking that you might be sufficiently irrational to conduct a first strike or to do something, you know, so-called ‘unthinkable.’”That seems to be what Corker is worried about, and comments like this won’t allay those fears.Aaron Blake is senior political reporter for The Fix.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Editorial, OpinionWe now have an idea what prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to call President Donald Trump a “moron.”NBC News is reporting that Trump had spoken openly in the preceding meeting with national security leaders about a return to a Cold War footing with nuclear weapons — what would amount to about a tenfold increase:“Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s.Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.“According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. “And three times, [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times. He asked at one point, if we had them, why can’t we use them?”The Trump campaign denied this.As president, Trump’s comments about nukes have also resulted in some head-scratching.Back in August, Trump falsely claimed that the arsenal was “far stronger and more powerful than ever before” thanks to upgrades made on his watch.That came despite those upgrades having been virtually impossible in his short time in office and the fact that the U.S. has a fraction of the weapons it once did.Nuclear weapons also seemed to seep into Trump’s repeated threats to attack North Korea if necessary.At one point he said he would “totally destroy” North Korea if Kim Jong Un forced him to defend the U.S. or its allies.center_img This is a threat that logically one could assume would suggest the use of nuclear weaponry.On some level, this completely plays into Trump’s foreign policy strategy. I’ve written before about how Trump is fond of the “madman strategy” in which you make your foes believe you are capable of pretty much anything.The White House even seemed to agree with that characterization on Friday:“He certainly doesn’t want to lay out his game plan for our enemies,” said his spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “So if you’re asking, is the president trying to, you know, do that, absolutely.”Judging by how Tillerson responded to it — and by how Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., recently suggested Trump could lead us into World War III —  it’s clear that it’s giving those intimately involved in Trump’s foreign policy plenty of heartburn.That’s partially because they know how unrealistic it is, but it’s also partially because they worry about the eventual result. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the build-up.In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.”It was after this July 20 meeting that Tillerson reportedly offered his “moron” comment — something the State Department has pretty directly denied, even as Tillerson declined to do so personally.This is hardly the first time Trump has talked flippantly and/or unrealistically about nuclear weapons.But it does reinforce that his attitude toward them, which leaders clearly regard as amateurish and foolhardy, is seeping into official White House business.While Trump’s loose chatter about nukes might have been dismissed as campaign bluster and posturing before, it seems much more real now.Trump is disputing NBC’s story.last_img read more

Trump wraps up his year of ignorance with doltish climate change tweet

first_imgBetter than the greatest CPA. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most.”He insisted that on the “big bills,” he knows more “than any president that’s ever been in office.”It was unfortunate, judging from the excerpts that the Times released, he was not pressed to answer in detail questions about the “big bills,” or on climate change.It is one thing to let Trump prattle on without interruption, thereby creating a record of his inanity.(Isn’t that what Fox News affords?)However, it’s also essential to continue asking him questions that challenge his falsehoods and test how he reacts when contradicted.Trump’s ongoing ignorance, like his contempt for democratic norms and insistence on monarchical-like loyalty, are mainstays of his personality. “He tweeted, ‘In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!’”Trump either was again playing dumb or evidencing his inability to distinguish between “weather” and “climate.”Man-made global warming, as the name suggests, refers to the steady rise of average temperature of Earth’s climate system because of the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.Indeed, at the moment much of the rest of world is warmer than normal even if a portion of the United States is chilly.His response was greeted by a tweet storm of ridicule from elected Democrats, scientists and ordinary social media users who continue to marvel at his willful contempt for scientific knowledge.His missive was a timely year-end reminder that this president refuses to educate himself on the most basic aspects of key policy issues.Coincidentally on Thursday, Trump, in a New York Times interview – demonstrating his rambling, self-absorbed mind-set – insisted that he knows “the details of taxes better than anybody. (“I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this:[Former Attorney General Eric] Holder protected President Obama,” he told the New York Times.“Totally protected him. When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president.“And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest”)He is no more able to absorb and comprehend scientific information than he is to comprehend that there are limits on his powers as president.(“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” he said before saying he would not involve himself with a potential re-investigation of Hillary Clinton.)Trump’s defenders have insisted that he is “new” to the role or thinks like a “businessman.” Categories: Editorial, OpinionEven though he is vacationing in Palm Beach, Fla., where temperatures are in the 70s, Trump tweeted on Thursday seemingly mocking those who accept climate science, suggesting that the East Coast will be so cold on New Year’s Eve that global warming may be a good thing instead of an environmental calamity. In fact, no chief executive would presume to run a business about which he was so ignorant.Moreover, continued inability to master key aspects of the job is not a plausible excuse for Trump’s vacuity, but rather an admission of fundamental unfitness.His followers will never admit as much but the majority of Americans, according to an array of polls, have figured out he is not up to the job.It seems appropriate to end the year’s political horror show with confirmation that Trump remains dangerously unfit, something the media is obligated to reveal – each and every day.What voters decide to do with those revelations will determine the course of Trump’s presidency and the country’s immediate future.Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Mentmore declares 130% profit increase

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Residential: Miracle of Manhattan

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DEGI joins German spending spree in City

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Private investors hold their nerve

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Final phase of Gypsy Corner gets go-ahead

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Sainsbury’s battle

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X-Leisure sails into Brighton Marina

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Top Democrat Pelosi rips up Trump speech

first_imgHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday, in a pointed political gesture after listening tight-lipped to the president tout his achievements to Congress.The tension between Trump and his Democratic nemesis was palpable from the outset, as Pelosi extended her extended her hand for a handshake — and the president failed to return the favor.Seated in silence behind the president in the House of Representatives, Pelosi frowned, repeatedly shook her head and smiled disbelievingly until he finished speaking and Republicans erupted in applause — at which point she rose and very visibly tore up the papers in front of her. Pelosi’s gesture capped a night where the country’s bitter political divide was on full display, as Trump’s address earned a triumphant reception from the Republican half of Congress — but sullen silence, boos and jeers from the Democrats present.Chuck Schumer, the senior Democrat in the Senate, said that the speech was “more like a Trump rally than a speech a true leader would give”.”It was demagogic, undignified, highly partisan and in too many places, untruthful,” he said.The White House was quick to hit back at Pelosi, saying she had insulted the Americans honored in Trump’s speech, from a veteran airman to a premature baby or a mourning military family.”That’s her legacy,” it said.Republican Senator Lindsey Graham doubled down, tweeting: “Tearing the speech up is not going to tear up the accomplishments of this President.”His fellow Republican Senator Marco Rubio said Pelosi had “embarrassed herself” by ripping up the speech.”So pathetic,” he added on Twitter.Topics : Asked afterwards by a reporter to give a reason for her gesture, Pelosi replied: “Because it was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternatives.”And in a follow-up tweet, the 79-year-old Pelosi said Democrats would “never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done.”  .@SpeakerPelosi tears up of State of the Union speech.#SOTU #SOTU2020 pic.twitter.com/sIpi4G7KsL— CSPAN (@cspan) February 5, 2020Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House six weeks ago, and the flashpoint with Pelosi comes one day before the US Senate is all but certain to vote to acquit him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.During the impeachment crisis, Trump, 73, has repeatedly assailed the speaker for her impeachment “hoax,” branding her “nervous Nancy” and “crazy Nancy” on Twitter.last_img read more