National Security

Ex-Obama adviser: Trump claims about nuclear arsenal ‘alarming’


Former Obama foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes on Wednesday called President Trump’s claims to have already modernized the U.S. nuclear arsenal “alarming” amid rising tensions with North Korea.

Rhodes’s comment was in response to a tweet from Trump on Wednesday morning saying his first act as president was to “renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal,” following threats from North Korea to use nuclear weapons on the U.S. territory of Guam.


The president’s tweet was an apparent reference to the ongoing Nuclear Posture Review, a legislatively mandated look at U.S. nuclear capabilities and strategy which Trump began on Jan. 27 with an executive order. The review, which works to shape U.S. nuclear policy, comes as the Department of Defense is preparing to revitalize America’s nuclear arsenal.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva, who is co-leading the review, said on July 18 that “my expectation is it will take several more months to complete the Nuclear Posture Review, and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review will follow it, because the second review is actually informed by many of the strategic choices that will be made in the Nuclear Posture Review.”

Rhodes later tweeted saying the White House’s “escalation” of the situation with North Korea is “insane” in response to Trump deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, who compared the situation to the Cuban Missile Crisis under President Kennedy. “Get ready for more of this,” he added.

Rhodes advised former President Obama on the Iran nuclear deal, among other national security issues.

Tags Ben Rhodes Donald Trump Sebastian Gorka
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