Trump reportedly suggested using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from striking the US – Business Insider

President Donald Trump has suggested dropping nuclear bombs into hurricanes to stop them from causing damage to the US, Axios reported on Sunday.

The report said that the president suggested the idea on multiple occasions to senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security and other national security officials.

One source present at a hurricane briefing at the White House at an unspecified date told Axios that Trump suggested something along the lines of: “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them? 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 on the hurricane reportedly responded, “Sir, we’ll look into that.”

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

A woman reacts as she starts to wade into the San Lorenzo Morovis river with her family, after the bridge was swept away by Hurricane Maria, in Morovis, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017.
Gerald Herbert/AP

Trump has faced sharp criticism over his response to natural disasters, particularly after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017.

Read more: Trump’s roller coaster week of insults, denials, and bungled messaging paints a damaging portrait of a White House in chaos

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 the 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 expanded its outreach to states, provided additional supplies, and conducted drills to test emergency response times.

The added preparation lends to the realization that many of the communities that were devastated by natural disasters in the past were 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,” homeland security adviser Doug Fears 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

The eye of a hurricane.
NOAA/NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team

A senior administration official who was briefed on Trump’s suggestion to nuke hurricanes told Axios that the president’s objective is “not bad.” “His goal — to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland — is 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 the idea won’t work.

National Geographic posted an article in 2017 explaining that besides for the suggestion being labeled as “wacky” by physicist Robert Nelson, the move would be prohibited under a nuclear treaty signed between the US and the former Soviet Union.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also published a fact sheet which said the approach “won’t work” and that radioactive fallout from it would have a devastating environmental impact.

“Needless to say, this is not a good idea,” it said.

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