AP

Donald Trump reportedly told the administration’s top national security officials that he wanted a staggering increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal in a meeting earlier this summer, an insane request that apparently led Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to call the president a “fucking moron.”

NBC News reported on Wednesday that Tillerson made the now-infamous remark after a tense July 20 meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and top Pentagon officials. In that meeting, Trump reportedly said he wanted what would amount to nearly a tenfold increase in the United States’ nuclear arsenal, a move that would violate decades-old international disarmament treaties signed by every president since Ronald Reagan.

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Since the 2016 campaign, Trump has demonstrated a fascination with nuclear weapons that’s bordered on apocalyptically creepy and also seems to have very little idea how the United States’ atomic arsenal actually works—a point made painfully clear during the Republican presidential debates, when he completely flubbed a question on America’s nuclear triad of land, air, and sea-based nuclear launch capabilities.

Given all that, it’s pretty understandable that Tillerson would see the president’s desire to exponentially expand America’s capability to rain extinction-level atomic hellfire as one coming from a “fucking moron.” Hell, if anything, it’s an understatement.

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What’s more, it seems as if Tillerson is hardly alone in his fear of Trump’s heightened interest in nukes. According to a “prominent” Republican source who spoke with Vanity Fair journalist Gabriel Sherman, the president’s top advisers have reportedly had conversations about what they’d do if Trump “lunged” for the nuclear football in an attempt to launch America’s missiles. The two officials named by Sherman’s source—Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly—along with Tillerson, were also described by outgoing Republican Senator Bob Corker as the three people who “separate our country from chaos.”

Trump, meanwhile, seems less worried about the prospect of being the first president to use an atomic bomb in more than 70 years and more concerned with proving that he’s got a higher IQ that Tillerson (large hands, large arsenal, large IQ. Quite the pattern emerging here), responding to news of Tillerson’s “moron” comment by challenging him to take an intelligence test.

Update, 9:50 AM: On Wednesday morning, President Trump denied NBC’s report, calling it “pure fiction”

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