President Trump adamantly denied on Monday that he wanted to use nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from striking the U.S.
“The story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous,” he wrote on Twitter. “I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!”
The president’s rebuttal comes after the news site reported that he had repeatedly suggested to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they look into nuking hurricanes as a way to prevent them from reaching the country.
“I got it. I got it,” Trump once said at a hurricane briefing at the White House, according to a source. “Why don’t we nuke them?”
“[The hurricanes] 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,” the source vaguely recalled the president saying. “Why can’t we do that?”
Trump’s recommendation purportedly stunned those in the room.
“You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting,” the source told Axios. “People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, ‘What the f—? What do we do with this?”
The leader of the free world had also suggested something similar in 2017, the news outlet notes. A memo from the National Security Council that year claimed that Trump had recommended using bombs to stop hurricanes from reaching the U.S., though it also pointed out that he did not use the word “nuclear.”
As absurd as it may sound, the idea of nuking a hurricane is nothing new. The concept, in fact, has been so widespread that the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had to explain why it was not scientifically possible to deter hurricanes from reaching the homeland by bombing them.
“The main difficulty with using explosives to modify hurricanes is the amount of energy required,” the agency explains on its website.
“If we think about mechanical energy, the energy at humanity’s disposal is closer to the storm’s, but the task of focusing even half of the energy on a spot in the middle of a remote ocean would still be formidable,” the NOAA further says. “Brute force interference with hurricanes doesn’t seem promising.”
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