President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon said the U.S. military is developing a “super duper missile” that can go 17 times faster than any existing rocket, earning him ridicule from critics.
“We have, I call it, the super duper missile,” said Trump. “And I heard the other night—17 times faster than what they have right now, when you take the fastest missile we have right now.”
Trump made the remarks at a press conference unveiling the official Space Force flag in the Oval Office.
“This is a very special moment, because this is the presentation of the Space Force flag,” said the president. “So we’ve worked very hard on this, and it’s so important from a defensive standpoint, from an offensive standpoint, from every standpoint there is.”
Breaking Defense reporter Paul McLeary said on Twitter that he had not yet received confirmation from sources at the Pentagon indicating any knowledge of what the president was talking about.
So far two DoD officials who would likely know about this sort of thing have told me they have no idea what the president’s “super duper missile” that goes 17x faster than any other missile might be.
— paul mcleary (@paulmcleary) May 15, 2020
Reporters at Friday’s White House briefing asked Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for clarification, but McEnany—in what Vox‘s Aaron Rupar described as “basically an SNL skit”—punted, referring back to the president’s comments.
“The president said the Pentagon is developing a ‘super duper missile’ … what was the president describing?” — this exchange is basically an SNL skit pic.twitter.com/QmREiE2RDy
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 15, 2020
Nick Schifrin, PBS Newshour‘s foreign affairs correspondent, suggested the president may have been referring to the AGM-183 Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon hypersonic missile, which was approved for purchase by the Air Force in February.
Critics on social media roundly mocked the president’s terminology.
“super duper missile” is objectively funny
— rat king (@MikeIsaac) May 15, 2020
“Super duper missile” is some extremely “raised on Howdy Doody” shit
— Kelsey D. Atherton (@AthertonKD) May 15, 2020
“It is obvious our president is beyond incompetent,” tweeted California political activist Eric Garcia, “but how do the people who work for him not bust out laughing at his ridiculous statements.”