US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump astounded foreign policy experts as he reportedly asked why the US could not use its nuclear weapons during a national security meeting earlier this year.
MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host, Joe Scarborough, let slip the shocking story during a Wednesday live interview with former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden.
“Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. 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,” Scarborough said.
Scarborough went on to ask his interviewee, Hayden, how quickly a US president could deploy a nuclear weapon.
“It’s scenario dependent, but the system is designed for speed and decisiveness. It’s not designed to debate the decision,” Hayden said.
However, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort denied the claim on Wednesday morning.
“Absolutely not true,” he said in an interview with Fox News. “The idea that he’s trying to understand where to use nuclear weapons? It just didn’t happen. I was in the meeting, it didn’t happen.”
The billionaire businessman has demonstrated an erratic stance on the issue of nuclear weapons. In a a different interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Trump questioned why the US made nuclear weapons if it couldn’t use them.
“Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?” he asked.
Other times, Trump gloated in an interview with GQ magazine that he “will have a military that’s so strong and powerful, and so respected, we’re not gonna have to nuke anybody.”
One of the main criticisms of Trump for US president is his lack of knowledge and experience on foreign policy. US President Barack Obama gave a lengthy and sharp denunciation of him on Wednesday, saying Trump is “unfit” for presidency.
“The fact that he doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge of critical issues in Europe, the Middle East, in Asia, means that he’s woefully unprepared to do this job,” Obama said at the White House.
First Lady Michelle Obama also chastised Trump at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week. Scolding Trump’s character and referring to the nuclear issue, she said:
“When you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.”
Despite being a signatory on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and calls on pursuing a world without them, the United States is a nuclear state and hassome 7,300 warheads.
The US was the world’s first and only country to use a nuclear bomb in an attack, which killed more than 140,000 people in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The attack was followed by another US atomic bombing on the Japanese port city of Nagasaki three days later, killing about 73,000 people.