Donald Trump Insists He Would Be 'Very Slow' to Deploy Nuclear Weapons
He’s volatile, savvy and, some say, scary. But who is the real Donald Trump? In a series of interviews with dozens of friends, foes, and the Republican presidential candidate himself, a PEOPLE special report examines the truth about the man behind the bluster.
As Donald Trump continues to lead among the Republican candidates, many, including his top opponent Ted Cruz, have openly questioned whether the public should be comfortable with Trump having his “finger on the button” if he were to become president.
“The depth and gravity of the responsibility of the office [of the presidency] seem to elude Trump so far,” Mark Pfeifle, former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush, tells PEOPLE. “No one knows if reading the [CIA’s daily terror-threat briefing] would sober him.”
But when asked about how he would handle the nation’s nuclear-launch codes, Trump tells PEOPLE that that the public may be surprised by his restraint.
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“I would be very slow on the draw. That would be such a last resort,” he tells PEOPLE, in this week’s cover story. “I would be very, very slow. Slower than some of the people I see next to me.”
Trump points to his opposition of the war in Iraq as evidence that he would not be a trigger-happy president.
For much more of our special report on Donald Trump, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
“Don’t forget, I didn’t want to go to Iraq. We made a terrible mistake going in,” he says.
And despite public comments about his plans to defend against ISIS by torturing terror suspects (and killing their families), Trump says he’s not looking to get the country embroiled in unnecessary military activity.
“I’m the most militaristic person that there is and nobody has more respect [for the military] than me. I’m going to build the military bigger, better and stronger than it was before. Because you need it,” he says. “Nobody is going to mess with us. But I would be very, very slow on the draw.”
• With reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL