A senior Trump official in the State Department who advanced the racist and false birther conspiracy is now working in the bureau's arms control department to “control the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction,” according to two officials cited in a Washington Post report on Wednesday.
Frank Wuco, a senior adviser for the State Department's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, previously worked as a conservative media personality and appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including Fox News.
During his media appearances throughout the years, Wuco breathed new life into the unfounded “birther” conspiracy, in which conservatives, including President Donald Trump, once claimed former President Barack Obama was not born in the US.
“While he was senator, before he ran for president, they invested over $1 million in legal fees,” Wuco said, referring to Obama in 2012, according to CNN. “There is a mechanism for having records legally sealed and the person who is in the White House right now has all the following records are sealed: His baptismal records, his birth records, his actually, his student application records to the prep school that he went to in Hawaii — which is one of the most well-heeled prep schools in Honolulu, which is not an inexpensive place to live.”
In 2017, over 40 hours of material were combed through by CNN's investigative team, much of which included other outlandish conspiracy theories, including a claim that former CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam, and that former attorney general Eric Holder was once a member of the Black Panthers.
Wuco, who was working as a senior adviser in the Department of Homeland Security at the time, was maliciously singled out by CNN through “years-old comments cherry picked from thousands of hours,” a DHS spokesman reportedly alleged.
Wuco's prior comments about foreign policy, including the use of nuclear weapons, prompt concern in light of his position at the State Department bureau “responsible for deterring conflict,” per its official website. In 2016, Wuco said in a radio show that it was his “preference” to have the US drop “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,” the Post reported.
News of Wuco's position comes as the future of US arms treaties, specifically the New START accords with Russia, is uncertain. The treaty, which limits the amount of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, is scheduled to expire in February 2021. Russia claims that it is too late to negotiate a viable replacement for the treaty.
“It's already obvious that with the time that is left … we will not be able to work out a full-fledged replacement document,” Vladimir Leontyev, a foreign ministry official, reportedly said, according to Russian media outlets.
Trump previously said he opposed the New Start, and US officials said he will not make a decision on an extension until 2020.