By Sam Schwarz On 1/23/18 at 9:59 AM
A majority of Americans do not trust President Donald Trump to “responsibly” handle the U.S. nuclear arsenal and are concerned that he could press his “nuclear button” and plunge the country into a war “without justification,” a new poll finds.
The poll comes in the midst of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, with many Americans worried that the countries are on the brink of a nuclear conflict.
Earlier this month, following a report that included the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaking about his nuclear button, Trump fired back. “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” the president tweeted on January 2.
North Korea’s official news agency responded by calling the missive the “spasm of a lunatic” and saying it reflected “the desperate mental state of a loser.”
The Washington Post-ABC News poll, conducted January 15-18, found that 60 percent of respondents do not trust Trump to handle his “authority to order nuclear attacks on other countries,” and 52 percent listed themselves as either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that “Trump might launch a nuclear attack without justification.” Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they do trust the president to handle his authority.
Also included in the poll was a question regarding Trump’s mental stability, likely based on his January 6 thread of tweets in which he wrote, “I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!”
When asked about his statement, 48 percent of respondents said they believed Trump was mentally stable, while 47 percent said they believed he is not. There was a clear correlation between this question and the other, with 84 percent of those who believe Trump is not mentally stable expressing some level of concern that Trump could launch a nuclear strike without justification. Conversely, 72 percent of people who said Trump is stable reported trusting him with the nuclear arsenal.