Trump disclosed secret weapons system to Woodward: book
President Trump bragged about a supposedly secret nuclear weapons system in an interview with Bob Woodward, according to excerpts from the veteran journalist’s new book.
Trump discussed the weapons system while reflecting on how close the United States and North Korea came to nuclear war in 2017, according to excerpts from “Rage” published Wednesday by The Washington Post, where Woodward is an associate editor.
“I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about,” Trump told Woodward, according to the Post.
“We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before,” Trump added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. “There’s nobody — what we have is incredible.”
Woodward’s book says unnamed sources later confirmed a new weapons system but would not provide any further details and were surprised that Trump had disclosed it, the Post reported.
When reached for comment by The Hill, the Pentagon said it does not have a comment “on a book that hasn’t published yet.”
James Acton, co-director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s nuclear policy program, suggested Wednesday that Trump may have been referring to the controversial submarine-launched low-yield nuclear warhead, the existence of which is known, although details remain classified.
Re Trump’s new nuclear weapon.
In 2017, the admin announced a plan to reduce the explosive power of some nuclear warheads on submarine-launched missiles. The timing was kept secret. My guess is that Trump told Woodward about the first deployment before it was made public. pic.twitter.com/Q4ZW4HZOUU
— (((James Acton))) (@james_acton32) September 9, 2020
The Trump administration called for the low-yield warhead as part of its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.
In February, the Pentagon disclosed the warhead had been deployed for the first time after reports that it deployed on a submarine at the end of 2019. But the exact timing and location of its deployment are classified.
It’s unclear from the excerpts when Trump made his comments on the weapons system to Woodward. Trump conducted 18 on-the-record interviews with Woodward from December to July.
Trump has a track record of bragging about new weapons that are publicly known, though he’s gone further by disclosing details that were previously unknown.
In May, Trump touted a “super duper” missile he said could travel 17 times faster than anything in the current U.S. arsenal.
Reports later said Trump was referring to the U.S. military’s hypersonic glide body and that the speed Trump disclosed referenced how much faster than the speed of sound the missile flew in a March test.
The Pentagon had announced the hypersonic missile test in March but did not disclose the speed.
Updated at 3:56 p.m.