Trump Tells 'Morning Joe,' 'Let It Be an Arms Race,' We Will Outlast Them All

By Susan Jones | December 23, 2016 | 7:29am EST
President-elect Donald Trump waves to members of the media after a meeting with admirals and generals from the Pentagon at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

( - "Let it be an arms race," President-elect Donald Trump told "Morning Joe's" Mika Brzezinski on Friday, after Brzezinski asked him, off camera, to clarify his tweet of the day before.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."

His comment came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to strengthen Russia's nuclear capabilities.

On Friday, Trump's incoming press secretary Sean Spicer was interviewed on "Morning Joe."

As Spicer was leaving the studio, Trump called him, and during the commercial break, Brzezinski asked Trump to clarify his comments on the U.S. nuclear capability.

When the show resumed, she quoted Trump as saying, "Let it be an arms race, we will outmatch them at every pass."

"And outlast them all," co-host Joe Scarborough added, apparently quoting Trump.

A short time earlier, Spicer told "Morning Joe," "There's a few countries around the globe, Russia being one of them, China, others, that have talked about increasing their nuclear capabilities. I think the president-elect's point is, unless these guys come to their senses and recognize that this is not a smart move -- increasing the nuclear stockpile around the globe is not good for anybody. But the U.S. is not going to sit back."

Spicer said Trump's tweet on Thursday was not a reaction to Putin what said.

"Look, it's a point that he's making which is, domestically and internationally, business as usual is over. This guy is going to bring real change, and that means if our partners around the globe think the U.S. is going to sit back, they're sadly mistaken."

Spicer said Trump is "putting every nation on notice -- that the United States is going to reassert its position in the globe, make sure that if you act, the United States is going to act."

On Thursday, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the president-elect's tweet on nuclear capability referred to the threat of nuclear proliferation "particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes," the Associated Press quoted him as saying.

Miller said Trump sees modernizing the nation's deterrent capability "as a vital way to pursue peace through strength."

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