Trump and the nuclear football

As dysfunction and bizarreness continues in US politics concerns keep surfacing about whether President Trump can be trusted in command of the US nuclear arsenal.

In a recent public spat with Trump Senator Bob Corker Says Trump’s Recklessness Threatens ‘World War III’.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”

“He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

NBC News: Trump Wanted Tenfold Increase in Nuclear Arsenal, Surprising Military

President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room.

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.

According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. 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.

Tillerson is another who has come into conflict with Trump recently, reportedly calling Trump a moron.

As an aside Trump has threatened to revoke NBC’s broadcasting license over this article.

Ironic claiming that media is bad for the country.

What would happen if Trump rhetoric escalated to the point of pushing the nuclear button?

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly, both military men, are seen as potential moderators of trump’s excesses.

Raw Story: GOP official imagines Kelly and Mattis discussed tackling Trump if he ‘lunges for the nuclear football’

New York Magazine contributing editor Gabriel Sherman on Tuesday reported on a remarkable conversation he had with a senior Republican official, who described imagined conversations Donald Trump’s chief of staff Gen. John Kelly and defense secretary James Mattis have had about “physically [restraining] the president” in the event he “[lunges] for the nuclear football.”

Sherman was discussing the growing concern in the West Wing over Trump’s temperament, particularly as the president continues to escalate feuds with prominent Republicans like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) while simultaneously setting the United States “on the path to World War III.”

“A conversation I had with a very prominent Republican today, who literally was saying that they imagine Gen. Kelly and Secretary Mattis have had conversations that if Trump lunged for the nuclear football, what would they do?” Sherman told NBC’s Chris Hayes. “Would they tackle him? I mean literally, physically restrain him from putting the country at perilous risk.”

It is illegal for them to prevent their President from going nuclear.

“That is the kind of situation we’re in,” Sherman added.

Pressed by Hayes to explain the sources’ relationship to—and direct knowledge of—the Trump administration, Sherman explained, “these are the conversation they have, on very good authority, are taking place inside the White House.”

Wikipedia: Nuclear football

The nuclear football (also known as the atomic football, the President’s emergency satchel, the Presidential Emergency Satchel, the button, the black box, or just the football) is a briefcase, the contents of which are to be used by the President of the United States to authorize a nuclear attack while away from fixed command centers, such as the White House Situation Room. It functions as a mobile hub in the strategic defense system of the United States. It is held by an aide-de-camp.

If the president (who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces) ordered the use of nuclear weapons, they would be taken aside by the “carrier” and the briefcase would be opened. A command signal, or “watch” alert, would then be issued to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The president would then review the attack options with the aide and decide on a plan, which could range from a single cruise missile to multiple ICBM launches.

The United States has a two-man rule in place at the nuclear launch facilities, and while only the president can order the release of nuclear weapons, the order must be verified by the Secretary of Defense to be an authentic order given by the president (there is a hierarchy of succession in the event that the president is killed in an attack).

This verification process deals solely with verifying that the order came from the actual President.

The Secretary of Defense has no veto power and must comply with the president’s order.

Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis is the current Secretary of Defense, but he seems to be a lot more sensible and sane than Trump.

Journalist Ron Rosenbaum has pointed out that the operational plan for nuclear strike orders is entirely concerned with the identity of the commanding officer and the authenticity of the order, and there are no safeguards to verify that the person issuing the order is actually sane.

Notably, Major Harold Hering was discharged from the Air Force in late 1973 for asking the question “How can I know that an order I receive to launch my missiles came from a sane president?” under Richard Nixon

We may never find out what goes on behind closed doors in the presidency. Or all hell could break loose.


When will it be appropriate to challenge Trump’s license to wreak havoc?

Leave a comment


  1. Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  12th October 2017

      Every minute of every day the moron POTUS 45 can put an end to life as we know it so if push comes to deadly shove the needs of the world far out way the demands of a moron POTUS…

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  12th October 2017

      Do what’s right for the world, you moron POTUS – negotiate an agreement with North Korea.

      Clinton did, in 1994, and for 8 years it froze Pyongyang’s nuclear programme and worked to normalise US-North Korean relations .

      But unfortunately Washington failed to follow through on its promises (go frickin’ figure…!), and when Bush listed the north as a “rogue” regime in 2002, the agreement collapsed.

      Go back to the negotiating table and show some diplomacy and a commitment to honouring Washington’s promises, you moron…

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  12th October 2017

        Trump’s got an agreement with NK: fire anything at anyone and you will be vapourised.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  12th October 2017

          Of course you’d advocate for a nuclear holocaust – you wouldn’t be a right wing nutjob otherwise


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s