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Trump denies wanting to drop nuclear bombs on hurricanes to stop them

Trump said the story was “fake news”.

Donald Trump called reports that he wanted to bomb hurricanes
Donald Trump called reports that he wanted to bomb hurricanes "fake news".
Image: Nicholas Kamm/AP/Press Association Images

Updated Aug 26th 2019, 2:35 PM

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has denied a report that said that he wanted to drop nuclear bombs on hurricanes. 

Trump labelled “ridiculous” a story by the US news website Axios, which reported that Trump asked if it would be possible to disrupt hurricanes forming off the coast of Africa by dropping a nuclear bomb in the eye of the storm. 

According to an anonymous source, Axios said that meeting attendees left the briefing thinking, “What do we do with this?”

Axios did not say when this conversation took place.

Trump slammed the story on Twitter, calling it “fake news”. 

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

“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!” he tweeted.

The White House declined to comment on the report earlier, but Axios quoted a senior administration official as saying Trump’s “objective is not bad”. 

Axios said the president had previously made a similar suggestion in a 2017 conversation, asking a senior official whether the administration should bomb hurricanes to prevent them making landfall.

Trump did not specify in this conversation that nuclear bombs be used.

Trump’s idea is not new. The suggestion was originally made by a government scientist in the 1950s, under President Dwight Eisenhower.

The idea continues to pop up, even though scientists agree it would not work. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a web page dedicated to the concept.

“During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms,” the NOAA said.

Not only would a bomb not alter a storm, the winds would quickly spread radioactive fallout over nearby land, NOAA added.

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

The US is regularly pummeled by hurricanes. In 2017 one named Harvey became the strongest hurricane to make landfall in 12 years.

Twitter lit up with reactions to Trump’s suggestion, under the hashtag #ThatsHowTheApocalypseStarted

“Not ‘The Onion,’” one user wrote, referring to the satirical news publication.

“What could possibly go wrong?” asked another.

Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris weighed in as well, tweeting, “Dude’s gotta go”.

© – AFP 2019

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