July 28, 2016
Trump’s Nuclear Policy and Views on Russia
By Donald J. Trump, David E. Sanger, and Maggie Haberman
SANGER: Since your time is limited, let me ask you about Russia. You’ve been very complimentary of Putin himself.
TRUMP: No! No, I haven’t.
SANGER: You said you respected his strength.
TRUMP: He’s been complimentary of me. I think Putin and I will get along very well....
TRUMP: But he’s been complimentary of me....
SANGER: President Obama, as you probably know, as you probably read, is considering a no-first-use pledge before he leaves office for nuclear weapons. We don’t have one right now. Some other nations do, some don’t. Would you consider that stabilizing?
TRUMP: Depends on who we are talking about, it depends on who we are talking about. I would only make that commitment as the agreement is being signed. I wouldn’t want to play my cards. I don’t want to say that.
SANGER: This would be a declaratory policy of the United States.
TRUMP: I understand. I will do everything within my power never to be in a position where we have to use nuclear power because that’s a whole different ballgame. That’s very important to me. I will do everything in my power never to be in a position where we will have to use nuclear power. It’s very important to me.
SANGER: President Obama, as you know, has talked about reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the American arsenal and hopefully getting to the point, maybe not in our lifetimes, of no nuclear weapons. Do you believe at this point that we have sufficient forces that we could come down unilaterally?
TRUMP: I only like that premise if nobody else has them. But that’s never going to happen.
SANGER: Do you think we have too many weapons than we actually need to defend the United States?
TRUMP: I think we have a lot of obsolete weapons.
SANGER: We certainly do.
TRUMP: We have nuclear that we don’t even know if it works. We have nuclear where the telephone systems are 40 years old and they have wire that’s so corroded that they can’t call from one station to the next.
SANGER: That’s right.
TRUMP: We have nuclear that their silos are rusted so badly that they don’t even know if the rockets are going to pour out.
SANGER: Well that raises the question whether we need that part of the triad?
TRUMP: Yes. Yes, I think you need all three parts, but — but we have, much of what we have is obsolete. Now, Russia, if you look at what they’re doing, they’re building submarines, they’re going to a level. ...