President Donald Trump has viewed nuclear war as an inevitability for decades, but he has also long thought of himself as someone who can reduce the numbers of nuclear weapons in the world.
"I've always thought about the issue of nuclear war; it's a very important element in my thought process," the former billionaire businessman told Playboy in 1990. "It's the ultimate, the ultimate catastrophe, the biggest problem this world has, and nobody's focusing on the nuts and bolts of it."
He went on to compare people's thoughts on nuclear war to an illness that a person doesn't think they'll ever catch.
"I believe the greatest of all stupidities is people's believing it will never happen, because everybody knows how destructive it will be, so nobody uses weapons," he added. "What bullsh*t ... It’s like thinking the Titanic can't sink. Too many countries have nuclear weapons; nobody knows where they’re all pointed, what button it takes to launch them."
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In 1995, he that nuclear destruction is part of "sick human nature" and that if German dictator Adolf Hitler had a nuclear bomb during World War II, "he would have put [it] right in the middle of Fifth Avenue," according to MSNBC.
"You have people that are sick and they are now having nuclear arsenals, and I think it's one of the greatest problems of the world," he said, adding that "life is so fragile."
Despite this, one thing the president has always been confident about is his ability to negotiate -- as far back as 1984, Trump told The Washington Post he would like to negotiate with Russia on its nuclear capabilities and talk the country into dialing back its missiles, which he said would take "an hour and a half to learn everything."
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Now that Trump is in a position to negotiate with world leaders, his views on nuclear power become all the more relevant -- especially in light of the tense situation between the U.S. and North Korea, whose leaders said that they might fire missiles at Guam after Trump declared that the reclusive Asian nation's future threats would be "met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."
"I don't talk about it," Trump said of the notion of preemptively attacking North Korea. "We'll see what happens."
He has also said he wants to "de-nuke the world" but that he will make sure the U.S. is "the most powerful nuclear nation in the world, by far" until that happens.
Sources: Playboy, MSNBC, The Washington Post (2) / Featured Image: National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: White House/IIP Photo Archive via Flickr, National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office