Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that “”I don’t want more nuclear weapons” but that the world would be better off if South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia had nuclear weapons on CNN’s Republican Town Hall on Tuesday.
Trump was asked if there was a contradiction between his concerns over nuclear proliferation and his openness to supporting Japan and South Korea developing nuclear weapons. He responded, that there is no contradiction and the US doesn’t want to “pull the trigger” against a nuclear North Korea. He added, “We owe $19 trillion, we have another $2 trillion because of the very, very bad omnibus budget that was just signed. … We are supporting nations now, militarily, we are supporting nations like Saudi Arabia, which was making, during the good oil days, which was a year ago, now they’re making less, but still a lot. $1 billion a day. We are supporting them, military, and they pay us a fraction, a fraction of what they should be paying us, and of the cost. We are supporting Japan. … Excuse me, we’re supporting Germany. We’re supporting South Korea.”
He further stated that it might be time to change U.S. policy keeping Japan and South Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Trump was then asked, “So, some proliferation is okay?” He answered, “No, not some. I hate proliferation. I hate nuclear more than any.”
After moderator Anderson Cooper said these positions were contradictory, Trump responded, “How many countries have it? Iran is going to have it, very — with…one of the dumbest deals I’ve ever seen signed ever, ever, ever by anybody. Iran is going to have it within ten years. Iran is going to have it.” And “At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea.”
Trump continued that things would also be better if Saudi Arabia and South Korea also had nuclear weapons. And “It’s going to happen, anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them, or we have to get rid of them entirely.”
Trump was then asked, “So, you’re saying you don’t want more nuclear weapons in the world, but you’re okay with Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons?” Trump said, “I don’t want more nuclear weapons.” He added, “We can’t afford it anymore.”
Asked if he has concerns about Japan or South Korea getting nuclear weapons, Trump stated, “[W]hen you see all of the money that our country is spending on military, we’re not really spending it for ourselves. We’re protecting all these nations all over the world. We afford to do it anymore.”
He concluded, “I would rather see Japan having some form of defense, and maybe even offense against North Korea, because we’re not pulling the trigger.”
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