“We will build it up,” Trump told reporters outside the White House when asked if he was prepared to increase America’s nuclear capacity. He added that the U.S. has “more money than anybody else by far, we’ll build it up until they come to their senses.”
Trump’s threat of an arms race comes on the heels of his weekend announcement that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia because Moscow had violated the Cold War-era agreement.
The Kremlin denied any such violation and suggested that it was Washington — and not Moscow — that had failed to comply with the pact.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, warned on Sunday that a unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the treaty “would be a very dangerous step.”
Former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who negotiated the INF treaty with then-President Ronald Reagan in 1987, also lambasted Trump’s plan to pull out of the deal, a decision Gorbachev called “not the work of a great mind.”
Trump said his threat of increasing America’s nuclear stockpile was not just directed at Russia, but at China and “anybody else that wants to play that game.” He added that once these other nations “come to their senses,” the U.S. would reduce its stockpile once more.
“When they do, then we’ll all be smart and we’ll all stop. And by the way, not only stop, we’ll reduce, which I would love to do. But right now, they have not adhered to the agreement,” Trump said.