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 build-up. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Japanese, where we bombed them in '45, heard it. They're hearing a guy running for president of the United States talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. Nobody wants to hear that about an American president.TRUMP: Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?
Q: There's a theory in Washington — and forgive me if you've been asked about it before — that the president subscribes to this madman theory. That if he makes a lot of unsettling, off-putting comments, that sort of throw people off, that he likes to keep his adversaries guessing. That that's sort of the point of making comments like “calm before the storm” and so forth. What is your sense of that? Is there — is there anything to that? Is there . . .SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think the president's addressed this himself. He certainly doesn't want to lay out his game plan for our enemies. So if you're asking, is the president trying to, you know, do that, absolutely.
There may, again, be some merit into the madman theory until you get in a crisis. But you do not want the other side thinking you are irrational in a crisis. You do not want the other side thinking that you might be sufficiently irrational to conduct a first strike or to do something, you know, so-called “unthinkable.”