WASHINGTON (JTA) — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said nuclear proliferation, including in Saudi Arabia, may be inevitable.
Speaking Tuesday on CNN, Trump said he opposed nuclear weapons proliferation, but it may be inevitable, in part because of the nuclear deal reached last year between Iran and six major powers led by the United States. The Obama administration maintains that the sanctions relief for nuclear rollback deal keeps nuclear weapons away from Iran and will stop proliferation.
“Iran is going to have it within 10 years,” he said, apparently referring to nuclear weapons capability. “Iran is going to have it.”
Trump and his rivals for the Republican nomination — Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — appeared separately Tuesday night in Milwaukee at town hall meetings broadcast by CNN ahead of Wisconsin’s April 5 primary.
Trump said at some point the United States should consider allowing allies like Japan and South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons as a means of defense against nuclear rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.
Asked whether he would tolerate a nuclear Saudi Arabia, if proliferation is inevitable, Trump said he might, although he also said he would not be happy about it.
“It’s going to happen, anyway,” the real estate magnate said. “It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time.”
Trump also explained why his daughter, Ivanka, who has converted to Judaism, named her son born days ago Theodore.
“Theodore Roosevelt is somebody Jared and Ivanka have long studied and respected, and it’s Theodore James,” Trump said.
Ivanka is married to Jared Kushner, who like her is the scion of a real estate family. “Tough, strong, and it’s Theodore James, and that’s what they really had in mind.”
At his meeting, Kasich criticized President Barack Obama for aloofness when it came to U.S. allies, citing Obama’s refusal last year to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke to Congress against the Iran deal, and his unwillingness to meet formally with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week in Washington.
“The president of the United States — the first thing he did is he wouldn’t meet with our friend Netanyahu,” he said. “Now he’s snubbed another one. He’s snubbed a meeting with the president of Turkey. Do you know how important it is for to us have good relations with Turkey? They’re the gateway to the East.”
The White House said Obama would meet informally with Erdogan on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Washington, D.C.
The Obama and Erdogan governments are at have been at odds recently over whether to support Kurds fighting the Islamic State in Syria.
Separately, the Associated Press debunked an ad run in Wisconsin by a “super PAC” backing the presidential bid of Cruz alleging ties between Kasich and George Soros.
Soros, a billionaire hedge fund manager, is despised on the right because of his backing for liberal groups, including the liberal pro-Israel group J Street.
The AP found that two investors who have had business relationships with Soros have backed Kasich, but that the investors have long contributed to Republicans and do not have political affiliations with Soros.
Trusted Leadership, the political action committee backing Cruz, says in the ads that Kasich is backed by “hundreds of thousands of dollars from George Soros.”