Donald Trump tweeted about America’s need to strengthen the nation’s “nuclear capability” in an alarming tweet on Thursday, December 22, hours after Vladimir Putin made similar comments about Russia’s own weapons.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” the 70-year-old President-elect wrote, using words that strongly resembled Putin’s speech earlier that day.
According to the Agence France-Presse, when the Russian president met with the nation’s defense ministry on Thursday morning, he was adamant about growing Russia’s clout as a global force.
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems,” he said. “We must carefully monitor any changes in the balance of power and in the political-military situation in the world, especially along Russian borders, and quickly adapt plans for neutralizing threats to our country.”
Putin, 64, added that Russia’s role in the ongoing Syrian war may help to position it as an important ally to other nations. “The effective use of Russian weapons in Syria opens new possibilities for military-technical support,” he said. “We must take maximum advantage of this. We know there is interest in modern Russian weapons from foreign partners.”
At present, the United States has 7,100 nuclear weapons and Russia has 7,300, according to the nonpartisan organization Arms Control Association. Though Trump and his team did not give any indication as to why the real estate mogul tweeted about nuclear arms Thursday, the president-elect did meet with advisers at his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, Wednesday.
During his campaign, the former Apprentice host expressed interest in using nuclear weapons, asking during an interview with MSNBC in March, “Somebody hits us within ISIS, you wouldn’t fight back with a nuke?” In the same interview, he later wondered aloud, “Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?”