A gnat is a tiny flying insect, and you’re unlikely to ever hear one break wind.
In other words, when Donald Trump spoke about possible ways to stop hurricanes from hitting America, officials were left speechless.
The cause is a noble one, because numerous hurricanes have caused widespread destruction across the US in recent years, but that doesn’t mean senior Homeland Security and national security officials were in favour of using nuclear bombs to stop them.
Yes, nuclear bombs. Here’s Axios:
During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” according to one source who was there. “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?” the source added, paraphrasing the president’s remarks.
Asked how the briefer reacted, the source recalled he said something to the effect of, “Sir, we’ll look into that.”
Trump replied by asking incredulously how many hurricanes the U.S. could handle and reiterating his suggestion that the government intervene before they make landfall.
The briefer “was knocked back on his heels,” the source in the room added. “You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, ‘What the f—? What do we do with this?'”
I mean, there’s the ‘old man yells at cloud’ meme, and then there’s POTUS threatens to nuke hurricanes.
Naturally, Donnie has been quick to shout ‘fake news’. You know he’s rattled because he tweeted about it twice:
Alright then, but what about the other time you mentioned bombing hurricanes, that is officially documented?
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 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.
When the story was put to the White House, they went into their usual spin mode, speaking about how his inquisitive mind is actually something the American people should appreciate:
A different senior administration official, who has been briefed on the president’s hurricane bombing suggestion, defended Trump’s idea and said it was no cause for alarm. “His goal — to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland — is not bad,” the official said. “His objective is not bad.”
What people near the president do is they say ‘I love a president who asks questions like that, who’s willing to ask tough questions.’ … It takes strong people to respond to him in the right way when stuff like this comes up. For me, alarm bells weren’t going off when I heard about it, but I did think somebody is going to use this to feed into ‘the president is crazy’ narrative.”
Well, that narrative has pages being added daily – just take a look at this recent deep dive into some of his more unhinged comments.
For those who are wondering what would happen if you were to nuke a hurricane, here’s the BBC:
The NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] says that using nuclear weapons on a hurricane “might not even alter the storm” and the “radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas”.
The difficulty with using explosives to change hurricanes, it says, is the amount of energy needed.
The heat release of a hurricane is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes.
Even though the mechanical energy of a bomb is closer to that of the storm, “the task of focusing even half of the energy on a spot in the middle of a remote ocean would be formidable”, it adds.
“Attacking weak tropical waves or depressions before they have a chance to grow into hurricanes isn’t promising either,” says the NOAA.
Trump isn’t the first person to float the idea – scientists as far back as the 1950s looked into it, although it’s been abandoned by anyone with a grasp of the basics for decades now.
I guess if you are going to dismiss the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding climate change, you may as well skip over the rest, too.
[imagesource: Videograb] An exclusive and high-end restaurant in the Champs-Élysées a...
[imagesource: Supplied to IOL] Yesterday morning, Shahnawaz Asghar was snatched from hi...
[imagesource: Netflix] It's been a while since we've stepped inside the mind of Tim Bur...
[imagesource: Getty Images] In 1982, Michael Fagan, wearing only a sweatshirt and jeans...
[imagesource: Mahesh Kumar A./AP] Dating can be a whole lot of fun or a whole lot of "n...