Trump slams NBC News over nuclear arsenal report
Washington: US President Donald Trump has lashed out at the US television network NBC over its report that the Commander-in-Chief had sought a dramatic increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal.
“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” Trump said.
His forceful responses came after NBC reported the president indicated that he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenal during a July gathering in Pentagon with top-ranking military leaders and security aides.
NBC revealed Trump was reacting to a briefing slide showing a decrease in the US weapons stockpile over the past 50 years.
The request for a massive expansion of the country’s nuclear capabilities shocked Trump’s advisers, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but no such expansion is planned, according to the report.
In another tweet, Trump suggested that he would support revoking the broadcast licenses of news organizations that report what he called “Fake News.”
“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” Trump tweeted.
But pundits said the president’s power in this area could be limited. According to guidelines of the Federal Communications Commission, the body only licenses individual broadcast stations, not entire “TV or radio networks” like NBC.
Though there is no statement from NBC over Trump’s remarks, one of its host tweeted that the network “stands by our reporting.”
It is not the first time that Trump has blasted an NBC story. The TV network reported last week Tillerson referred the President as a “moron” after the Pentagon meeting and considered resigning as the Secretary of State.
During a hastily prepared press conference last Wednesday, Tillerson stated he never thought of quitting in the wake of the story. The State Department’s spokeswoman later denied that Tillerson had made the remark about Trump.
“NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN,” Trump said then after Tillerson’s statement.