Former President George W. Bush reportedly expressed shock at the gigantic size of the United States’ nuclear arsenal when he first learned the details of its gigantic size. According to a 2001 Newsweek report, a White House insider told the magazine when Bush learned the size of the arsenal he said, “I had no idea we had so many weapons,” and asked, “What do we need them for?”
By contrast, Donald Trump just called for a dramatic expansion of U.S. nuclear capability and said a nuclear “arms race” may be a viable strategy going forward for the nation.
Trump’s comments about nuclear weapons, which could destroy millions of lives if ever deployed, bucks decades of U.S. national security policy. Presidents across both parties, including Ronald Reagan and PResident Obama, have pushed for smaller nuclear arsenals. It is a widely held belief that deploying nuclear weapons would edge the entire globe towards complete destruction, and is a scenario that should be avoided at all costs.