President Donald Trump has declared that he is going to pull the United States out of a Cold War-era treaty that limits the number of missiles which can be produced by both his country and Russia.
"We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out," Trump told a Republican rally in Nevada on Saturday, according to USA Today. He added that after pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the United States is "going to develop the weapons" unless Russia and China agree to a new deal (China isn't a party of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty).
"Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to," Trump told the cheering audience.
During his visit to Nevada, Trump also used the opportunity to attack former Vice President Joe Biden, who recent polls project is the most likely Democratic nominee to run against Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
"He never had more than one percent. So we call him either Sleepy Joe Biden or One Percent. Which is better?" Trump asked the audience at the rally. After one Trump supporter referred to the former vice president as "Creepy Joe," the president launched into a humorous tirade in which he facetiously claimed to dislike the epithet.
"Oh no, she said Creepy Joe. She said Creepy Joe," Trump crowed, then adding "No, I would never do that. I would never insult him like that. She said she's only kidding. I would never insult."
Trump also told the audience that "now look, I wish Biden the best. I hope he's going to be the nominee actually. I mean, One Percent Joe. I just hope they pick somebody good, somebody that's going to represent their interests."
Trump's decision to take a tough stance against Russia comes as he continues to fight accusations of collusion between his presidential campaign in 2016 and the Russian government. The president has a number of ties to Russia, from his business relationships to the activities of his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who Salon recently interviewed due to his being considered as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, summed up these concerns best on his website.
"Throughout the 2016 presidential election, President Trump not only refused to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin, but was even friendly and accommodating in his remarks," Swalwell wrote. "In his own words, President Trump called President Putin 'highly respected.' More recently, President Trump put the U.S. on equal moral footing with Russia when responding to Bill O’Reilly’s question about Putin being a 'killer,' saying 'We've got a lot of killers... you think our country's so innocent?' This is absolutely false moral equivalence, and unheard of for the President of the United States to insult and demean the country he leads."