Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said Thursday that he has little confidence Donald Trump will act rationally on nuclear weapons as commander in chief, in part because he thinks the president-elect behaves like a child.
Responding to Trump’s vague tweet Thursday morning stating that he wants to “strengthen and expand” the nuclear capability of the United States, Merkley told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that the apparent escalation of tensions terrified him.
“We have an incoming president who has kind of the maturity of a five-year-old, wrapped by a massive ego,” Merkley said. “And to have that just a second away from a nuclear trigger is very, very scary.”
Trump’s tweet came just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a similar call to strengthen his nation’s nuclear arsenal. Experts have expressed concerns that this sort of rhetoric could signal a departure from decades of cooperation against nuclear proliferation in the international community.
“This is an area where it’s constrained by international agreements, as it should be because of the risk of nuclear weapons,” Merkley said.