After being shown an image charting the steadily falling size of the US nuclear arsenal since the height of the Cold War during a meeting with top national security officials in July, President Donald Trump reportedly expressed support for a tenfold expansion of America's stockpile of nukes-a move critics said would spark a "global arms race" and dramatically increase the threat of a nuclear catastrophe.
Trump has often called for increased military spending, and on the day after the July 20 meeting he signed an executive order directing a review about whether the country's military suppliers could keep the military stocked during war time.
Trump was responding to a news report that he had said during a meeting at the Pentagon in July that he wanted what amounted to almost a ten-fold increase in the number of USA nuclear weapons.
He called the report "pure fiction" that was "made up to demean".
Trump denied requesting more weapons.
"General Mattis put out a statement, or is putting out a statement, saying that was fake news, that it was just mentioned that way", he said.
President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a almost tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation's highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room. "This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible", Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said.
When asked if he believed that the press should be limited, Trump replied "no".
The tweets were then posted on Wednesday morning.
Trump's advisers, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised, according to the network. U.S. news reports have painted the relationship between Trump and Tillerson as tense.
Under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the government is prohibited from making any law that infringes "upon the freedom of the press".
During an address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Mr Trump declared that the USA would "totally destroy North Korea" if forced to defend itself or its allies.
As Politico points out, the FCC licenses individual stations not networks though NBC's parent company, Comcast, does own a number of stations.
The initial report about Tillerson's comment prompted Tillerson to confirm his commitment to the administration and compliment the president in an impromptu news conference.