Trump says the US nuclear arsenal is now ‘tippy top’ thanks to him, but nuke experts say he’s out of touch with reality

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President Donald Trump boasted Friday that the US nuclear arsenal is “tippy top” thanks to him, but nuclear weapons experts told Insider that the arsenal hasn’t changed much during his presidency.

Trump told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that “our nuclear is all tippy top now,” adding that China and Russia dream of the weapons the US military has. Trump regularly boasts about US military strength, sometimes with somewhat nonsensical phrases such as “super-duper missile.”

Trump has repeatedly called for a stronger nuclear force both before and during his presidency.

At a campaign rally in 2016, Trump enviously praised Russia’s military while expressing concerns about the US. “Putin has built up their military again and again and again,” he said. “Their military is much stronger. He’s doing nuclear, we’re not doing anything. Our nuclear is old and tired and his nuclear is tippy top from what I hear.”

Later that year, shortly before becoming president, he tweeted: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

In the summer of 2017, a little over seven months into his presidency, Trump tweeted that he modernized the nuclear arsenal. “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal,” he wrote. “It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.”

The president was referring to the order (not actually his first) to launch the nuclear posture and strategy review, which would not come out until the following year.

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Last September, Trump argued that he had revitalized the US nuclear arsenal. “Our nuclear was getting very tired. Now we have it in, as we would say, tippy-top shape. Tippy top. We have new and we have renovated and it’s incredible. We should all pray we never have to use it.”

After Trump bragged again Friday that he had made the US nuclear arsenal “tippy top,” Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists, told Insider that “his statement implies the nuclear forces were ‘tippy-top’ before he became president because he has made no substantial change to the arsenal since.”

The US military has been working to modernize the aging nuclear triad, but that work began before Trump took office.

Trump’s “claim has no relationship to reality,” explained Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons and nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute. “The modernization program started under Obama.”

The Trump administration has continued to fund that modernization, often pushing for increases in funding, but the new systems are still in the works.

“We won’t see the first of a dozen or so new ballistic missile submarines until next year,” Lewis said, adding that the US military “won’t see the new nuclear-capable B-21 and its new air-launched cruise missile until the mid-2020s and will be lucky to see a new ICBM by 2030.”

“The only notable thing Trump has done is convert some existing W76 warheads on our submarines to a low-yield variant,” he said, referring to the low-yield W76-2 now …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

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