- President Donald Trump has reportedly suggested dropping nuclear bombs into hurricanes to stop them from causing damage to the US.
- According to the news website Axios, Trump suggested the idea during a hurricane briefing at the White House, saying something along the lines of “They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?”
- The report said people who were in the room when Trump made the suggestion were shocked and thought “What the f—? What do we do with this?”
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President Donald Trump has suggested dropping nuclear bombs into hurricanes to stop them from causing damage to the US, the news website Axios reported on Sunday.
The report said the president suggested the idea on multiple occasions to senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security and other national security officials.
One source who was at a hurricane briefing at the White House at an unspecified date told Axios that Trump said something along the lines of “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” and “They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?”
The person who was briefing Trump responded with something like “Sir, we’ll look into that,” the source told Axios.
But the source added that when Trump repeated the suggestion, people in the room were shocked and thought “What the f—? What do we do with this?”
Trump has faced criticism in the past for his response to natural disasters
Trump has faced sharp criticism over his response to natural disasters, particularly after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017.
Nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the storm. The entire island was declared a federal disaster zone after the hurricane made landfall, and much of the power grid is still recovering from the catastrophic damage.
When Trump visited the decimated island in 2017, he said the hurricane was not a “real catastrophe.”
He also told residents: “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine. We saved a lot of lives.”
In the wake of the widespread public backlash to its handling of Hurricane Maria, the Trump administration has reportedly doubled down on its preparation for hurricane season this year.
According to USA Today, the administration has expanded its outreach to states, provided additional supplies, and tested emergency responses.
But many of the communities that have been devastated by natural disasters are likely to be hit again.
“If a hurricane makes landfall in the United States this year, chances are a community that’s already undergoing recovery will be hit again,” Doug Fears, a homeland security adviser, told USA Today. “That means it’s a much more vulnerable community because all of the work necessary to restore it or even make it stronger has not been completed.”
Dropping nuclear bombs into hurricanes is not a new idea
A senior administration official who was briefed on Trump’s suggestion to nuke hurricanes told Axios that the president’s objective, “to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland,” was “not bad.”
This isn’t the first time the idea has been suggested – it was first floated by a scientist during the Eisenhower era – but experts widely agree that it wouldn’t work, Axios said.
A 2016 National Geographic article explains that, besides being labelled as “wacky” by the physicist Robert Nelson, such a move would be prohibited under a nuclear treaty signed between the US and the former Soviet Union.
And a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fact sheet said that radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion in a hurricane would have a devastating environmental impact.
“Needless to say, this is not a good idea,” it said.
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