Nuclear War Is Closer in 2017 Than It Has Been Since Cuban Missile Crisis, Joe Scarborough Warns

nuclear weapons protest
International campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) activists wearing masks to look like President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose next to a plastic foam effigy of a nuclear bomb while protesting in front of the Brandenburg Gate near the American Embassy, on September 13, in Berlin. Omer Messinger/Getty Images

We're skidding closer each day toward nuclear war—and it's proving difficult to find a reasonable person to steer the world from chaos. That's according to Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC show Morning Joe, who said Wednesday that nuclear tensions are higher now than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The former GOP congressman was reacting to an NBC News report that President Donald Trump told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson he wanted to increase the nation's nuclear arsenal tenfold, which inspired the now-infamous "moron insult" from the secretary.

Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski described the president's behavior as "erratic, unpredictable and some would say extremely concerning."

Scarborough noted that Senator Bob Corker—a Republican, like Trump—has said the president might be pushing the globe toward World War III.

"This statement is unprecedented in modern American history, from a leader on the Hill whose president is in the same party with them," Scarborough said via Mediaite. "It's never happened before. Republicans on the Hill have not pushed back publicly against what Bob Corker has said about Donald Trump's erratic statements. There's a reason for that. And the reason for that, Mika, is they've all said similar things behind closed doors."

Scarborough talked about how seriously some well-informed folks are taking the threat of nuclear war.

"Foreign policy people yesterday [told] me, off the record of course, that the media is getting it wrong on North Korea, and the media is getting it wrong on Donald Trump, that actually we are far close[r] to a cataclysmic event," the host said. "We had the nuclear clock when we were all growing up. It's probably closer to midnight...than any time it's been since the Cuban missile crisis."

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a tense, two-week standoff in 1962 that took place when the Soviets moved nuclear-capable missiles onto the island, just a short flight from the U.S. mainland, at the height of the Cold War. Since Trump took office, the U.S. has seemingly moved ever-closer to tensions of that era—the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists's Doomsday Clock was moved to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight less than a week after Trump's inauguration.

MSNBC's Mike Barnicle followed up Scarborough's comments by adding he doesn't have faith in the president to resolve the current crisis. "I don't think you can say comfortably, with any assurance, that today in Washington D.C., that we have a rational actor," he said on Morning Joe.