Energy Sec. Ernest Moniz condemns Donald Trump’s remarks about using nuclear weapons

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz walks in with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai during an opening ceremony at the Nuclear Security Center of Excellence in Beijing, China earlier this March.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz walks in with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai during an opening ceremony at the Nuclear Security Center of Excellence in Beijing, China earlier this March. –NG HAN GUAN / POOL

Sir Ernie of Fall River has returned again to vanquish Donald Trump.

Or, as he is wont to do, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz scrupulously and succinctly dismissed the Republican candidate’s stance regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

In an MSNBC interview Thursday, the former MIT professor and Fall River native called Trump’s remarks “bluntly irresponsible” and “detrimental” to the security of the United States and its allies.

In an MSNBC town hall Wednesday, Trump said he would not rule out using nuclear weapons in the Middle East and Europe: “I am not taking cards off the table.”

Trump has also suggested  South Korea and Japan should acquire nuclear weapons to protect themselves from North Korea and China, rather than having the countries depend on the United States for protection. American and Japanese officials rejected the idea Thursday as “catastrophic” and “impossible,” while a small minority in South Korea support the proposal.

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“It’s extremely troubling obviously,” Moniz said Thursday, speaking from the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., adding that to suggest nuclear weapons should serve a purpose other than as a deterrent to their use is “not a very responsible approach.”

“In terms of the spread of nuclear weapons further, once again, it’s a terrible idea, to put it bluntly,” he said. “We are trying to work to reduce nuclear weapons, their footprint. We in the United States with Russia have made significant cuts in the arsenal. The president has talked about trying to go further. Ultimately, going to the goal of ideally, a nuclear-free world, nuclear weapon-free world.”

MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell then asked whether Moniz had heard from other leaders of allied countries regarding Trump’s remarks. Reuters recently reported U.S. officials said they had been peppered with questions from foreign diplomats concerned about “the xenophobic nature of Trump’s statements.”

“Uh, we have heard many comments about many statements made in this campaign,” Moniz said, with a brief smile and laugh.

 

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