Madeline Conway reports at Politico:
In a series of impromptu statements about nuclear weapons, Donald Trump is threatening to upend longstanding U.S. nonproliferation policy, even as his advisers contradict him and muddy his intentions.
The president-elect had alarmed and perplexed some experts and others in Washington when he pronounced, without offering more details, via Twitter on Thursday that the U.S. “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
He further escalated his call on Friday, telling the MSNBC program “Morning Joe” that he is fine with the country taking part in an “arms race” if it puts the U.S. in a stronger position against foreign adversaries.
“Let it be an arms race … we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all,” Trump told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” during an off-air conversation on Friday.
After the remark was reported on MSNBC, though, incoming Trump press secretary Sean Spicer pushed back and insisted that the remarks came from a “private conversation” with “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski. While he told the “Today” Show’s Matt Lauer that “there is not going to be” an arms race, he told CNN that Trump is not going to “take anything off the table,” either.
Abby Phillip and Abigail Hauslohner report at The Washington Post:
President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to stand by his plans to establish a registry for Muslims and temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from the United States.The proposed Muslim ban is still on his website.
Speaking outside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump did not walk back the proposals after he was asked by a reporter whether he was rethinking or reevaluating them in the wake of a fresh terrorist attack in Berlin.
“You know my plans all along,” Trump said.
He went on to add that the attack on a Berlin Christmas market, which was claimed by the Islamic State, had vindicated him. German authorities are seeking a 24-year-old Tunisian migrant, who they say has ties to Islamist extremists, in connection with the attack, which killed 12 people and injured dozens.
“I’ve been proven to be right. One-hundred-percent correct,” Trump said. “What’s happening is disgraceful.”