Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump refused to rule out using a nuclear weapon in Europe, citing that he would never take any of his cards off the table for negotiation purposes.
On March 30, Trump participated in a town hall moderated by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. When asked if he would rule out using a nuclear weapon in the Middle East, the business mogul was noncommittal.
“First of all, you don’t want to say take everything off the table because you would be a bad negotiator if you do that,” Trump said, according to The Independent.
Matthews found this assertion outrageous and pressed the GOP front-runner on just how far Trump’s policy of preserving all nuclear options would go.
“How about Europe?,” Matthews asked. “We won’t use in Europe?”
Trump insisted, “I’m not going to take it off the table for anybody.”
By refusing to rule out using a nuclear weapon against a region that is predominately allied with the U.S., Trump’s foreign policy was blasted by his GOP primary opponents and officials with President Barack Obama's Administration.
During a press conference, Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio called Trump’s loose talk on nukes irresponsible, The Washington Times reports.
“That is not the way that a president of the United States, it is not the way that a leader of the free world or the commander in chief of our country, to be so casually talking about the use, by the way, of nuclear weapons,” Kasich said at a press conference.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz took issue with Trump’s comments that suggested U.S. allies should develop their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves, deeming this attitude “extremely troubling, obviously."
“We are trying to work to reduce nuclear weapons," Moniz said, according to POLITICO. "Ultimately, going to the goal of ideally, a nuclear-free world."
"I’m afraid this kind of talk in an election is just bluntly irresponsible and is detrimental to our internal allies security posture," Moniz added.
On Mar. 31, during an interview with Fox News’ Eric Bolling, Trump refused to back away from his comments about possibly having to deploy a nuclear warhead in Europe.
“Europe is a big place,” Trump said, according to The Hill. “I’m not going to take cards off the table.”
The business mogul added that he was the last person who would use a nuclear weapon, but that you can never take your cards off the table, "from any standpoint, and certainly from a negotiating standpoint.”