Fact-checking Donald Trump's misleading tweet about USA nuclear arsenal


One sentence in this memo directs the defense secretary to "initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review to ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies".

Michael Fazio, a friend of a Trump friend, posted a picture of the president standing next him on Instagram that he says was taken at Trump's New Jersey golf course today.

This morning, following yesterday's criticism of his "fire and fury" comments, President Trump continued his unsafe rhetoric towards North Korea.

The congressman added that Trump had put United States credibility on the line by drawing an "absurd red line" and predicted that Kim would likely "call his bluff as America's adversaries watch".

Naturally, this flies in the face of comments that his own chaotic administration has made, with Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson recently suggesting that Americans "should sleep well" because diplomatic sanctions on North Korea will ultimately be the most effective way to stop the escalating tensions.

The comments came hours after Trump brought up the readiness of the US nuclear arsenal.

The Associated Press documented a range of problems in the Minuteman 3 missile force starting in 2013, including numerous morale, training, discipline and leadership shortfalls that have beset the nuclear force in recent years, especially among those who operate, maintain and protect the weapons.

The total number of warheads is second only to Russian Federation, which now has 7,000. Readers wanted to know: Can the nuclear arsenal be modernized so quickly?

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In an interview with the Huffington Post, John Mecklin, editor-in-chief of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists-the organization that created the "Doomsday Clock"-denounced Trump's remarks as "about the stupidest and most risky statement I have ever heard an American president make".

Trump said, "My first order as president was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal". It's also true that America's nuclear arsenal has shrunk since the Cold War, and it's aging.

A reporter, however, questioned if Trump is inflaming things. In addition, the ongoing nuclear modernization plan - which dates back to the Obama administration and will take decades to complete - would not have notched achievements in six months sufficient to be characterized as "far stronger and more powerful than ever before".

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that nuclear forces will cost $400 billion between 2015 and 2024. Over 30 years, that could go to well over a trillion dollars.

By virtually any measure, however, the US nuclear arsenal is smaller and less powerful than it was at its Cold War peak.

"The US arsenal is the same as it was the day before inauguration", said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

"I don't want to be alarmist", the Late Show host said in his monologue Tuesday, "but we're all gonna die".

He downplayed speculation that the threats move the USA closer to a military option.