Last week we saw another installment of the media malpractice that has plagued the 2016 campaign. NBC’s Matt Lauer was widely criticized for his performance moderating the network’s Commander-in-Chief Forum, especially his failure to correct Donald Trump’s repetition of the lie that he opposed the invasion of Iraq. But another mistake has been getting far less attention. The nationally televised event yielded little serious debate about the many great security challenges facing the United States today, including perhaps the single most urgent threat on the planet: nuclear weapons.
Though Hillary Clinton was asked about the Iran nuclear deal, there was no discussion of nonproliferation or the perils of nuclear weapons in general. For that, to be fair, Lauer is only partially to blame. The unfortunate reality is that, at a time when experts have warned that the danger of a nuclear disaster is on the rise, neither of the major-party nominees has said much about it.
The nuclear threat was briefly in the headlines this summer when MSNBC’S Joe Scarborough rather melodramatically reported that Trump, in a private briefing, had repeatedly asked a national security expert why the United States could not use its nuclear weapons. The Trump campaign denied the report, but his comments on the record are similarly frightening. As Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione has said of Trump, “He talks about nuclear weapons very loosely, casually—as if they’re just another tool in the toolbox.”
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.