a slippery slope
Absolutely yes. Weapons training is an integral part of aikido training. That's why we learn it. Weapons teach us improved hand-feet-center coordination that is actually the first step to truly understanding what aikido is all about.
Defensively, it teaches to adjust our distance and to be able to cover greater distances, ultimately making unarmed waza easier.
There are people who believe that they can "understand aikido" simply by having the art described to them. Of course, we know that they don't have anywhere near a true understanding of the art.
It's also students and teachers who lack sufficient weapons training that like to downplay the importance weapons in one's overall development in the art.
If we begin to negate certain aspects of the art, then we enter onto a slippery slope. Where would such judgments end? Maybe some will say that suwari waza is not needed to understand aikido, so those movements will become neglected. Others may say that koshinage is not important to understanding aikido, so then that technique will no longer be taught.
It's my view that all of the various techniques are needed to gain a true and complete understanding of aikido as O-Sensei intended it to be understood. We bow to O-Sensei before every class because we supposedly study his art. Who are we to say what is needed and what is not?
A solid knowledge of the use of tanto, bokken, and jo is also important if one ever hopes to become a complete teacher.