December 8, 2019, 11:42

Trump denies report he floated idea of attacking hurricanes with nuclear bombs

Trump denies report he floated idea of attacking hurricanes with nuclear bombs

President Donald Trump on Monday denied an Axios report that said he has “suggested several times” the idea of using nuclear bombs to disrupt the course of hurricanes, preventing them from coming ashore and damaging the United States.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump arrives to attend a lunch in Biarritz, south-west France on Aug.26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit.

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“The story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous,” Trump tweeted from the G7 summit. “I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!”

(MORE: Trump suggests ‘second thoughts’ about China tariff war, triggers confusion at G-7 summit)

According to one source that Axios cited, during a hurricane briefing at the White House. Trump said, “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?”

Paraphrasing what the president said, the source added, “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?”


Hurricane Florence off the coast of Florida as seen from a satellite, Sept. 12, 2018.

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan tweeted in response to Trump, saying, “I stand by every word in the story. He said this in at least two meetings during the first year and a bit of the presidency, and one of the conversations was memorialized.”

He added, “Not to mention that we gave the White House press team full visibility of everything we were reporting nine hours before publication. We published their statement in the story.”

According to Axios, the idea of using nuclear bombs to thwart hurricanes dates back to President Dwight Eisenhower’s administration, and while experts agree that it will not work, the idea continues to float around.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. government agency that predicts changes in weather and the oceans, has a public fact-sheet online titled “Tropical Cyclone Myths Page” in which it outlines why using nuclear bombs will not work.

“Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.”


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