Reports suggest President Donald Trump had to put his apparent buddy and alleged benefactor, Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a brief hold during their Jan. 28 telephone call because the U.S. commander-in-chief had no idea what deal his counterpart was referring to when he started talking about possibility of extending the New START Treaty.
Three sources told Reuters Trump had to pull aside an aide to explain what happens to be a milestone accord constraining the U.S. and Russian nuclear and missile arsenals. Former President Barack Obama negotiated the key nuclear reduction agreement with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, limiting nuclear warhead deployment to an aggregate 1,550.
The U.S. Senate approved it 71-26.
However, either because it was an Obama-era achievement or because he failed to understand much about it, Trump expressed his skepticism and then told Putin it was a “bad deal.”
“Having to ask staff what something is on a phone call is not standard practice for presidential calls,” Julianne Smith, a Russia expert at the Center for New American Security in Washington, D.C., told Quartz. “This account shows him accusing the Russians of taking advantage of us and belittles the best arms control deal we have had in years.”
It is a matter of national security and the president’s ignorance is setting off alarm bells all over.
This incident is just more proof that Trump neither takes his responsibilities seriously nor is he prepared for one-on-one conversations with foreign leaders.
What is more concerning is that the treaty Trump denounced is considered a key step toward reducing and monitoring both countries’ deployed nuclear weaponry.
Moreover, if the U.S. or Russia refuses to mutually extend the deal and limit their nuclear production, it could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race.
“It’s impossible to overstate the negligence of the president of the United States not knowing basic facts about nuclear policy and arms control,” said New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who also serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “New START has unquestionably made our country safer, an opinion widely shared by national security experts on both sides of the aisle.”
Meanwhile, continuing their current tradition of disregarding the media’s queries and pressing its own agenda, the White House declined to comment on the details of the real-estate mogul’s blunder.
However, press secretary Sean Spicer claimed the president knew what the New START was and only turned to his staff for an opinion.
“I would say they had a very productive call,” he told reporters. “It wasn't like he didn’t know what was being said. He wanted an opinion on something.”
It is pertinent to mention the public readout of Putin and Trump’s first official call after the inauguration does not mention anything about discussion on the nuclear agreement at all.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters