- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2017

President Trump said Thursday the U.S. nuclear arsenal has fallen behind, and he wants to ensure it is at the “top of the pack.”

“I am the first one that would like to see … nobody have nukes, but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power,” Mr. Trump told Reuters. “If countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”

He added that “it would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes.”

Russia has 7,300 warheads and the United States, 6,970, according to the anti-nuclear Ploughshares Fund.

Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, said Mr. Trump’s comment is causing the world to become “less safe with each passing day.”

“President Trump has doubled down on his baseless opposition to a nuclear treaty that has enjoyed strong bipartisan support,” Mr. Rainwater said. “In denouncing New START once again, Trump is slamming the door on the possibility for extending it, and reversing course on America’s commitment to reducing nuclear arsenals.”

Mr. Trump also told Reuters that China could solve the national security challenge posed by North Korea’s nuclear belligerence “very easily if they want to,” ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to exert more influence to rein in Pyongyang’s increasingly bellicose actions.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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