This week, while Donald Trump waddles around his New Jersey golf course yelling mad words about how he’s going to bombfuck North Korea into oblivion, something all sane presidents know they’re not supposed to say, seems like a good time to remind everyone that Trump does not know one solitary thing about nuclear weapons, besides that they exist, they go boom, and for some godforsaken reason (thanks, handful of rednecks in the Rust Belt and, and also Russia!) he controls them.
Trump tweeted this incomprehensible gibberish Wednesday:
Excuse us, but what are we supposed to believe Donald Trump did to “renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal”? Did he replace those tacky Corian countertops with something more trendy, like marble? Did he knock out a couple walls in the silos, to open up the space? Because it’s a well-known fact that nobody really cares about having a formal dining room in a missile silo anymore, because the heart of any good nuclear bombing party is really the kitchen. What the hell is this, “Love It Or List It”?
The Washington Post explains that no, Trump hasn’t done anything about our nuclear arsenal, and is simply sucking his own dick with his head up his ass, like he does. When he became president, he fired the people who maintain our nukes, and he pulled out his Hello Kitty Presidenting Pen and “order[ed] a review” of the arsenal, which HASN’T EVEN BEEN DONE YET.
“It’s absurd; this is like — you have to be the biggest hayseed in America to believe this,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. “There’s no point at which this statement touches reality.”
Trump loves the poorly educated hayseeds! His most fervent supporters think he’s bringing back coal jobs, that one million new factories are under construction, and apparently they’re willing to believe Trump has been out there renovatin’ the nukes with a hammer and a nail, in between his golfing trips. Always remember, loves, that no matter how dumb you think the average Trump supporter is, the truth is about 15 IQ points lower.
The WaPo notes that if there is anything different about our nukes right now, it’s (LOL) because of a “very aggressive $1 trillion modernization plan that was signed into law by President Barack Obama.”
This is all part and parcel of how Trump doesn’t know fuckall about nuclear weapons, just like he doesn’t know fuckall about much of anything else. Of course, he considers himself an expert, because he considers himself an expert on everything. If the dictionaries haven’t added Trump’s picture to the entry for Dunning-Kruger Syndrome yet, they need to get on it.
Trump told a story in June of 2016 about how his uncle, who worked at MIT, taught him about the nu-cu-lars:
“Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are — nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right, who would have thought? — but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”
Besides how fucking epic that nonsense run-on sentence is, Trump has a point. Who among us hasn’t observed the strength of nuclear bombs and said, “who would have thought?” The answer is FUCKING NOBODY SINCE HIROSHIMA.
But Trump learned all about the nukes from Uncle John, who, as Timothy O’Brien points out in BloombergView, “had no experience developing nuclear weapons or nuclear policy.” But he was super-smart, OK? Tremendous brain! O’Brien flags a thing Trump told the Boston Globe just after he announced his run for the presidency, about how the good brain of his uncle means his family has “good genetics.” (Sorry, Donald, but it sounds like Uncle John took all the good genes, because look in the mirror.)
“My uncle used to tell me about nuclear before nuclear was nuclear,” Trump told the Globe. “He would tell me, ‘There are things that are happening that could be potentially so bad for the world in terms of weaponry.'”
Nuclear weapons are bad, MMMKAY, so don’t make Trump use them.
Except for how he KIND OF WANTS TO? Back in August of 2016, we wrote a Wonksplainer after Joe Scarborough-Brzezinski told a story about Trump talking to a foreign policy expert and just having a conniption, asking the expert THREE TIMES in one conversation why he wasn’t allowed to use nuclear weapons. The short answer was “HOLY SHITFUCK, TRUMP,” but the long answer was that Trump needs to read some goddamn books (assuming he can read) about Ronald Reagan, the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and maybe just a general book on the history of the world DURING HIS OWN LIFE, since he obviously hasn’t paid any attention. It can be a pop-up book or a Berenstain Bears version if that’s more on his level.
In the September 2016 presidential debate, Trump said this:
“I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike. I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over,” Trump began, appearing to endorse the proposed policy change. But then he contradicted himself.
“At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table,” he said.
No first strike, no first strike, YOU’RE THE FIRST STRIKE. Unless Trump wants to be the first strike, in which case GO BOOM.
In a Republican primary debate in December of 2015, Trump answered a question from moderator Hugh Hewitt, about how he would update/preserve our nuclear triad. Jesse Berney provides the transcript of Trump’s answer over at Rolling Stone:
“And one of the things that I’m frankly most proud of is that in 2003, 2004, I was totally against going into Iraq because you’re going to destabilize the Middle East. I called it. I called it very strongly. And it was very important.” [He was not against starting the Iraq war. — Ed.] […]
“But we have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ballgame. Frankly, I would have said get out of Syria; get out – if we didn’t have the power of weaponry today. The power is so massive that we can’t just leave areas that 50 years ago or 75 years ago we wouldn’t care. It was hand-to-hand combat.”
HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT? As Berney quipped, “the boxing-related deaths of World War II were truly devastating.
“The biggest problem this world has today is not President Obama with global warming, which is inconceivable, this is what he’s saying. The biggest problem we have is nuclear – nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That’s in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now.”
Hewitt, not being a total hack for once, reminded Trump that his question was about what he would do to update our nuclear triad, and Trump replied:
“I think – I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”
Why he used Make America Great Again as his slogan, when “Nuclear Is Just The Power, The Devastation Is Very Important To Me” was available, is just a mystery.
Has Trump learned anything since that primary debate in 2015? Since that 2016 presidential debate? Since Uncle John told him about nuclear before nuclear was nuclear?
Considering his dick-waving at North Korea, the answer is clearly no. If you have evidence to the contrary, please prove us wrong! Until then, we’ll be over here under our desk hoping Trump doesn’t accidentally try to use the nuclear football to order a Diet Coke.
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