The Trump Files: Donald’s Nuclear Negotiating Fantasy

The billionaire was once convinced he could cut a magnificent nuclear weapons deal with the Soviet Union.

In the 1980s, Donald Trump became a global symbol of wealth and success who was planning to build the tallest skyscraper in the world. But the one deal he really wanted to cut was an arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union that would take nuclear missiles off the Cold War’s battlefield. It’s now clear that Trump knows quite literally nothing about nuclear weapons, but then he fantasized going toe-to-toe with the Russkies at the nuclear bargaining table.

“It’s something that somebody should do that knows how to negotiate and not the kind of representatives that I have seen in the past,” he told the Washington Post in 1984. “It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles…I think I know most of it anyway.”

Three years later, growing even more alarmed about Libya and other rogue nations getting the bomb, he told author Ron Rosenbaum that he was indeed working with the Reagan White House on nukes. “I’m dealing at a very high level on this,” he said.

Trump was frightened about the spread of nuclear technology—he seemed at one point during the interview to suggest the United States should bomb France to keep it from selling nuclear know-how—and worried about the deal-making skills of American officials. “They have no smiles, no warmth; there’s no sense of them as people,” Trump complained. “Who the hell wants to talk to them? They don’t have the ability to go into a room and sell a deal. They’re not sellers in the positive sense.”

“I used to laugh when I thought back on Trump and me in [the 21 Club] talking nukes,” Rosenbaum wrote for Slate this year. “I’m not laughing anymore.”

Read the rest of The Trump Files:

 

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.