On Monday, President Trump clarified that he does not want to throw nukes into a hurricane, contrary to mainstream media reporting.
Axios was the first to report the president’s alleged interest in using nuclear capabilities to stop nature’s most destructive storms, something the president described as “ridiculous.”
He would never nuke these major storms intending to knock them off course or otherwise dissipate them, as Axios claims unnamed sources within the Trump administration told them.
“The story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous. I never said this,” Trump tweeted. “Just more FAKE NEWS!”
The story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous. I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2019
USA Today reports:
The Axios report, citing unnamed sources, said Trump asked participants at a White House briefing on hurricanes, “Why don’t we nuke them?” The source recalls officials telling the president that they would look into it.
The Trump administration was widely applauded for its handling of Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that smashed ashore in Texas and Louisiana in 2017. But Trump has faced lingering criticism for the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 that decimated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands the same year.
The report comes as forecasters are currently monitoring Tropical Storm Dorian, which is gathering strength and could become the Atlantic’s second hurricane of this year’s season. The National Hurricane Center said additional watches and warnings probably would be issued Monday as the storm approaches the Windward and Leeward islands, which include Dominica and Martinique.
Axios reports the president also said: “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?”
Trump also raised the idea in another conversation with a senior administration official. A 2017 NSC memo describes that second conversation, in which Trump asked whether the administration should bomb hurricanes to stop them from hitting the homeland. A source briefed on the NSC memo said it does not contain the word “nuclear”; it just says the president talked about bombing hurricanes.
The source added that this NSC memo captured “multiple topics, not just hurricanes. … It wasn’t that somebody was so terrified of the bombing idea that they wrote it down. They just captured the president’s comments.”
The sources said that Trump’s “bomb the hurricanes” idea — which he floated early in the first year and a bit of his presidency before John Bolton took over as national security adviser — went nowhere and never entered a formal policy process.
The president’s tweet comes as he is meeting with world leaders in France.