On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough claimed Donald Trump asked a “foreign policy expert” who was advising him numerous times about “why can’t we use nuclear weapons.”
Prefacing his comments by saying he’d “be very careful here,” Scarborough said: “Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times, he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, we can’t we use them?’… Three times, in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’”
That quote comes around the one minute point of this video:
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) August 3, 2016
Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who is not known for being particularly supportive of Democrats, made that claim during an interview with former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden. Hayden also expressed concern about “how erratic” Trump is.
“I can argue about this position or that position — I do that with the current president,” Hayden said. “But he’s inconsistent. And when you’re the head of a global super power, inconsistency, unpredictability, those are dangerous things. They frighten your friends and they tempt your enemies. And so, I would be very concerned.”
Asked which people in the national security community are advising Trump, Hayden said, “No one.” And in response to a question about what steps might stand in the way of Trump using nukes if he’s elected president, Hayden said, “The system is designed for speed and decisiveness. It’s not designed to debate the decision.”
Despite characterizing nukes as “the single biggest problem we face,” Trump has had a hard time articulating a coherent nuclear weapons strategy. He’s suggested he’s not a fan of the nonproliferation strategy the United States has successfully pursued for the last three decades. Asked about the possibility of using nuclear weapons in Europe, Trump said he’s “not going to take it off the table.” He’s also hinted at using nuclear weapons to combat ISIS.
During a town hall with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in March, Trump said he would be very, “very slow and hesitant to pull [the] trigger” on using a nuclear weapon but didn’t rule it out.
Asked whether he’d at least be willing to rule out the possibility of using nukes in Europe, Trump wouldn’t do it.
“I’m not going to use nuclear, but I’m not taking any cards off the table,” he said.