If there was ever a news story that made you want to play the 80s-era Fun Boy Three song The Lunatics Are Taking Over The Asylum at top volume, it’s today’s revelation that the Trump administration had placed a former right-wing talk radio personality and naval intelligence officer in a job working on arms control issues at the State Department — a man who, after the 9/11 attacks, suggested attacking Afghanistan with nuclear weapons.
According to two U.S. officials familiar with the story — which was first reported in The Washington Post — Frank Wuco, now a senior adviser at the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, was working in the Department of Homeland Security last year when a CNN investigation uncovered his history of promoting the types of extremist conspiracy theories usually associated with right-wing nut jobs in tin foil hats…and Donald Trump.
Among the thoroughly discredited claims that Wuco has disseminated are such patently absurd beliefs such as that former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States, former CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam, former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. had been a member of the Black Panthers and former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
At the time of CNN’s initial report on Wuco’s past as a wanna-be Alex Jones, a spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department defended his right to speak freely about his delusional and unfounded claims by saying that his opinions had “no bearing on his ability to perform his job for the American people.”
In his new position, however, The Post writes that some people think that his past comments are quite relevant to the question of his qualifications for the job at hand.
“Now Wuco works at the State Department, though some arms control advocates have questioned his suitability for the area of arms control given his past remarks,” the newspaper reports.
In a conversation on the Dougherty Report radio show in 2016, Wuco responded to a question about why the United States hadn’t turned Syria and Iran “into glass already” with this account of how he would handle the situation:
“I don’t think it’s been our policy really to just start nuking countries,” Wuco said. “I think if we were going to have done that, my preference would have been to have dropped a couple of low-yield tactical nuclear weapons over Afghanistan the day after 9/11 to send a definite message to the world that they had screwed up in a big way.”
With Trump having allowed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia to expire without a replacement treaty that could prevent a new nuclear arms race, arms control professionals are alarmed at Wuco’s continued employment at the State Department in a weapons control and compliance role.
“Wuco’s bureau is busy dealing with the aftermath of the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, emerging technologies that could upend long-standing theories on nuclear policy, the strategic threats posed by a militarizing China and the uncertain future of the New START accord,” said Alexandra Bell, senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and a former Obama administration official. “It cannot afford distractions connected to a senior adviser who once casually mused about nuking Afghanistan.”
The State Department was not immediately forthcoming on when exactly Wuco made the transition from Homeland Security to his current position, but one official in the diplomatic corps told the Post under the cloak of anonymity that he had been working at the State Department since at least this past August.
The Washington Post article details each of the incidents where Wuco promoted the above-mentioned lunatic postulations on his radio program, named — with considerably less imagination than went into spinning the ludicrous fables he was peddling — the Frank Wuco Radio Show.
“Only the best people,” Trump said of the people he would hire in his administration when he was campaigning for the presidency.
The results of his recruiting should teach us not to trust character evaluations coming from someone who pardons accused war criminals, appoints promoters of wanton nuclear destruction to arms control jobs, and for whom a gold-plated toilet is the height of taste. That last item alone should have provided enough advance warning to disqualify Trump from the presidency, but now it’s just one indication of how much higher the stakes of Trump’s presidency have become and why he must be removed from office as soon as possible.
In the meantime, please listen to the following as loudly as possible, paying particular attention to the lines:
“No nuclear the cowboy told us
And who am i to disagree
‘Cos when the madman flips the switch
The nuclear will go for me.”
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CORRECTION: The first paragraph of the above story was revised to better clarify the timeline of Frank Wuco’s comments about nuking Afghanistan.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.