During his phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump described the New START treaty, which limits nuclear proliferation, as a “bad deal.”
The treaty was agreed upon by both Russia and the U.S. in 2010 under the Obama administration.
According to Reuters, Putin mentioned a possible extension of the treaty—causing Trump to “ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was.” He then replied that it was a “bad deal.”
He then told Putin it was one of a number of bad deals negotiated by former President Barack Obama and that it favored Russia, before launching into a conversation about his own popularity, according to the sources.
The official White House summary of the Jan. 28 call does not mention any discussion of the agreement.
The treaty gives both countries until 2018 to cut their strategic nuclear missile launchers to 1,550 — the lowest number in decades — and limits numbers of land- and submarine-launched missiles and heavy bombers.
Trump on the campaign trail had denounced the treaty, which he referred to as the “START Up” treaty. He claimed incorrectly that the Obama-era deal had allowed Russia to expand its nuclear capabilities while the U.S. could not.
“They expanded and we didn’t, 1,800 nuclear warheads,” he incorrectly argued during the final presidential debate in October.
“Let me tell you, Putin has outsmarted … Obama at every single step of the way. Take a look at the ‘START Up’ that they signed. The Russians have said, according to many, many reports, I can’t believe they allowed us to do this. They create warheads, and we can’t.”