President Trump refuted a story from NBC News published Wednesday stating the president wanted to increase the U.S. nuclear arsenal by tenfold, calling the article "pure fiction" that was "made up to demean" — and then threatened to challenge their broadcast license.
"Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold' increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!" Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
In a second tweet, Trump questioned whether NBC and other networks should lose their broadcast licenses.
"With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!" Trump continued in a second tweet.
The Federal Communications Commissions licenses portions of the airwaves to television stations to allow them to broadcast for free to the public. These are typically the big network stations, like ABC, CBS, and NBC but also includes stations like PBS and other local channels.
With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
NBC News reported Wednesday the president told national security officials in a July 20 meeting he wanted more nuclear weapons after he saw a briefing slide on the U.S. and Russia's nuclear capabilities. The request reportedly surprised Trump's advisers and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and national security officials warned the president of the legal and practical consequences of increasing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
It was after this meeting at the Pentagon that officials heard Tillerson call Trump a "moron."
Tillerson's comment toward Trump was reported by NBC News last week. The outlet also said the secretary of state threatened to resign in July.
The report prompted Tillerson to hold an impromptu news conference refuting rumors he plans to leave his post, though the secretary of state declined to directly address whether he did call Trump a "moron."