Donald Trump’s Obsession with Nuclear War

We have reason for alarm.

Twenty-eight years ago, when the Trump progeny were still teens with buck teeth and sloppy chins and their Daddy’s brain was still producing full sentences, he granted an interview with Glenn Plaskin of Playboy magazine. It was similar to Michael Wolff‘s access with Plaskin shadowing the 43 year-old Trump over the course of weeks, gathering tidbits and color and sitting face-to-face with the real estate wheeler-dealer on rare occasions. Playboy has since walled off the resulting article, capitalizing on the profitability and more importantly, the revelatory thoughts of its subject.

There is plenty of jaw dropping grist in this portrait – from Trump’s ideas on genetics and his children to his praise of the Chinese for the slaughter of innocents at Tiananmen Square to his belittlement of former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev for weakness.

However, one segment of this vivid look into the mind of Donald Trump stands out. It is a chilling discussion that begins with a hypothetical: what would he do if elected President of the United States.


Trump had already talked about a run for the presidency in 1988 during an appearance on the Oprah show. It was a tease, this threat and promise of running, one that he dangled when promoting a poorly selling book or when negotiating a deal with NBC or just as a gambit for publicity. With each of these stunts, he would utter pronouncements laced with vulgarity, deride entire countries, insult heads of state and offer his surefire solutions, which invariably included making more money from trade.

This time, Trump introduced a new topic: nuclear war.

From the interview:

This was Plaskin’s very first question of a hypothetical President Trump and the showboating playboy’s very first reply. I often think of nuclear war.

Nearly three decades ago, his obsession was sitting at the front of his mind, and during the years, the thought has festered and calcified. Now we have an actual President Trump. Now we have the easy potential of nuclear war. And now we have this questionably sane person taunting the planet’s second most dangerous head of state. North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and his nuclear enterprise puts all of us in jeopardy. Yet, the one individual who can trip that potential for holocaust into actuality is the most dangerous man on earth: Donald Trump.

Plaskin was understandably taken aback by Trump’s response. Was it just another Trump tease? Or was there some new idea stirring? Perhaps a concept relating to peace. After all, Reagan and Gorbachev had just signed a bilateral treaty limiting nuclear missiles.

Trump’s answer is a foreshadowing of his convoluted mental process and inadvertent riddling.

His response tells us that nuclear war occupies a chunk of his thinking and that the prospect of nuclear war is to him “the ultimate catastrophe.” All sound but then the reasoning gets skewed. In an obviously ignorant moment, he says “nobody’s focusing on the nuts and bolts of it.” The statement denies knowledge of world bodies like the Atomic Energy Commission, non-proliferation treaties like the one cited above and a host of global organizations whose sole purpose is to educate citizens on the realities of a nuclear holocaust. Just 20 years prior, the Cuban missile crisis was averted when JFK and Khrushchev had a mind meld over the concept of M-A-D (Mutually Assured Destruction).

In Trump’s world, this history and those realities do not exist. Nuclear weapons live in an alternate universe detached from their designers and their regulators. Nobody wants to talk about it, he asserts, plainly in denial of reality.

What drives Trump along this path of illogic? Is he determined to reject anything that occurs outside the walls of his real estate holdings? Is it willful ignorance? Or is he a simpleton?

The final legs of his answer are even less cogent and more alarming.

“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. What bullshit.”

There is a fundamental disconnect here. It is a terrifying absence of sense. According to his reasoning, the idea of avoiding a nuclear holocaust (because everyone knows how destructive it will be) is “bullshit.” Not using nuclear weapons is “bullshit.”

Let’s look logically at this disjointed thought process.

Not using nuclear weapons is bullshit. Therefore, using nukes is not-bullshit, i.e. a good thing.

Donald Trump is advocating the use of nuclear weapons. There is no foundation for this other than the workings of his dysfunctional cognitive apparatus.

We should be alarmed. Even without the Playboy interview, Trump is pivoting the planet toward mass destruction. There is his insistent humiliation of Kim Jong-Un, threats to “totally destroy” North Korea, the thwarting of diplomacy, mixed in with claims of a good relationship with the Korean despot and praise for his power grabs and assassinations. He is a man who may be deemed sane but clearly, his mental functioning is broken.

We must be alarmed. Donald Trump has opened the sealed void of annihilation. Let us hope that stronger minds and more compassionate hands will slam it shut.

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