The relationship between Donald Trump and NBC soured along ago—presumably around the time that the then-presidential candidate was fired from saying “you’re fired!” on the network, leaving Trump no choice but to turn the White House into the world’s most high-profile adult day care center. Speaking of which: Last night, Vanity Fair special correspondent Gabe Sherman told MSNBC that a senior Republican source told him that General Kelly and Secretary Mattis view their primary duty as preventing President Trump from starting a nuclear war with one of his shit fits, and that they “imagine” Kelly and Mattis would physically tackle Trump to the ground to keep him away from the so-called “nuclear football” if need be.
That’s little more than speculation, but NBC News has a more substantive report citing three anonymous sources who say Trump proposed a nearly tenfold increase in America’s nuclear arsenal in a meeting of national-security leaders on July 20. Well, “proposed” is a strong word; “pointed at a chart like a baby reaching for a mobile” is more like it. Here’s how NBC News put it:
Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve ... Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the buildup. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.
Basically: Trump makes childish demand for more and bigger symbolic virility; advisors patiently explain to him why that won’t work; nothing comes of it, thanks to nuclear non-proliferation treaties of which the President of the United States of America is apparently wholly ignorant. So, you know, typical Trump stuff. Still, Trump seemed to take special offense to this report, perhaps because this is apparently the meeting after which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson allegedly called him a “moron.” Trump even compared NBC to CNN—the ultimate insult in his book—earlier this morning:
He then threatened to “challenge,” and presumably suspend, NBC’s capital-L “License” should it and other networks keep reporting “fake,” i.e. unflattering, news about him.
Anyway, NBC News’ report goes on to detail an Afghanistan strategy meeting held around the same time that was so “unproductive” that advisors decided to hold another meeting the next day in which the president could be more “focused.” As the story puts it, “The thinking was: ‘Maybe we need to slow down a little and explain the whole world’ from a big-picture perspective, this person said.” Quick reminder that the man the source is talking about, one who needs to be sat down and have things gently explained to him like a child who wants to get ice cream after the ice cream parlor has closed, is currently serving as Commander in Chief of the most expensive military on Earth. Happy Wednesday!