WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump suggested dropping nuclear bombs on hurricanes before they made landfall in the United States, news site Axios reported on Sunday.
During a hurricane briefing, Trump asked if it were possible to disrupt hurricanes forming off the coast of Africa by dropping a nuclear bomb in the eye of the storm, the news site wrote.
According to an anonymous source, the news website said attendees at the meeting left the briefing thinking, “What do we do with this?”
Axios did not say when this conversation took place.
It is reportedly not the first time the president made such a suggestion. In 2017, Trump asked 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.
The White House declined to comment, but Axios said quoted a senior administration official as saying Trump’s “objective is not bad”.
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 The suggestion was originally made by a government scientist in the 1950s, under President Dwight Eisenhower.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 (NOAA) has a 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 pummelled 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, with many users appearing shocked.
“Not ‘The Onion,'” one user wrote, referring to the satirical news publication known for outlandish headlines.
“What could possibly go wrong?” asked another.
Many tweets also included the hashtag #ThatsHowTheApocalypseStarted.
Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris weighed in as well, tweeting, “Dude’s gotta go.”