US President Donald Trump has threatened to take major American news networks off the air over a story about his nuclear policy, accusing them of indulging in spreading “fake news”.
Trump and his aides have repeatedly used the term “fake news” to cast doubt on critical media reports, often without providing evidence that the reports were untrue.
Trump was upset after NBC News reported that he wants a ten-fold increase in the nuclear arsenal. He called the news “made up”.
“With all of the fake news coming out of NBC and the networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license? Bad for country!” he said.
“Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked,” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday night.
The news about him seeking an increase in nuclear arsenal is false, he said.
“Not fair to public!” Trump said, referring to the news items in particular carried by news networks, which he alleges, is not correct.
According to a report in NBC, Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly ten-fold increase in the US nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room.
The President’s remarks on this issue were reportedly from a meeting in July.
Two officials present said that at multiple points in the discussion, the president expressed a desire not just for more nuclear weapons, but for additional US troops and military equipment, the report said.
In an interaction with reporters later in the day, Trump described it as “fake news”.
“No, I never discussed increasing it. I want it in perfect shape. That was just fake news by NBC, which gives a lot of fake news, lately,” he said.
“I think somebody said I want ten times the nuclear weapons that we have right now. Right now, we have so many nuclear weapons. I want them in perfect condition, perfect shape. That’s the only thing I’ve ever discussed,” Trump said, adding that it is “disgusting” the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.