In a terrifying turn — even for Trump — he suggested dropping nuclear bombs into hurricanes.
It should be an Onion article, but it isn't: Trump really did suggest that we drop nuclear bombs inside hurricanes to stop them from reaching us. And it isn't the first time Trump has dealt with nukes in a haphazard, dangerous fashion.
On Sunday, Axios reported that Trump came up with the idea during a hurricane briefing. According to a source that paraphrased Trump's remarks, he essentially said: "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?" It also wasn't the only time he raised the idea. A 2017 national security memo shows Trump floated the idea back then.
Of course, the Trump administration being what it is, no one around Trump would tell him this was a blindingly stupid idea that, even were it to work, would result in nuclear fallout being dispersed far and wide. Instead, an aide present during the hurricane briefing told Trump they'd look into it.
Actually, the United States government looked into this long ago, apparently because it is an idea that people insist on contacting the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about it. NOAA's existing web page about the wrongheaded suggestion says that dropping a nuclear bomb inside a hurricane "might not even alter the storm" because nukes simply can't match the amount of energy generated by the hurricane, and therefore likely can't effectively disrupt it.
Worse, NOAA notes the nuclear 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."
It's probably too much to suggest that Trump himself could have quickly googled this idea before floating it and have learned that his own government has already examined it and warned against it. It's unforgivable, however, that the people that surround him responded by saying they'd look into it as if it was a viable option rather than merely pointing Trump to the existing source saying it is impossible and dangerous.
Trump has been fixated on nuclear weapons for much of his term. In fact, the reason former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a "moron" back in 2017 was that Trump had suggested increasing the nation's nuclear arsenal tenfold. That's a move that would not only reverse a decadeslong trend of decreasing missiles to better ensure worldwide peace but would also be nearly impossible, budget-wise. At various times, he's also suggested dropping a nuclear bomb on the Middle East and Europe and said he'd be fine with a nuclear arms race in Asia.
Trump has already derided this as fake news, but it likely isn't. It's just not that far afield from Trump's foolish, childlike, belligerent way of looking at the world as something to overwhelm and disrupt. Apparently, that applies to the natural world as well.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.