Did President Trump want a tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal?

NBC News reported Wednesday that Trump brought up the prospect during his July meeting at the Pentagon — the same meeting that reportedly prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to call Trump a “moron.”

But Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis strongly pushed back on the report.

“Recent reports that the President called for an increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal are absolutely false. This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible,” Mattis said in a statement.

According to NBC News, which cited three unnamed officials in the room at the meeting, said he wanted more nuclear weapons when he was shown a slide on the history of the U.S. and Russian nuclear capabilities.

The slide showed the United States’ stockpile peaked at about 32,000 in the 1960s, and Trump said he wants that many now, according to NBC. That’s compared to the about 4,000 the United States has now.

The Hill’s Avery Anapol has more about the NBC report here.

And The Hill’s Ellen Mitchell has more about Mattis’ pushback here.

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