- LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images
- US President Donald Trump has again denied suggesting using nuclear weapons to halt hurricanes, after the news website Axios reported that he aired the idea in multiple conversations with national security officials.
- According to Axios, however, Trump’s suggestion that bombs should be used to halt hurricanes was recorded in a memo by National Security Council officials.
- “The Fake News is still trying to perpetuate the phony story that I wanted to use Nuclear weapons to blow up hurricanes before they reach shore,” President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday. “This is so ridiculous, never happened!”
- “I stand by every word in the story,” Jonathan Swan, the Axios reporter who broke the story, tweeted Monday.
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US President Donald Trump has again denied a report that he had suggested using nuclear weapons to stop hurricanes – but the news website Axios says there is a formal National Security Council memo proving that he made a similar suggestion.
“Just returned to Washington from France and the very successful G-7, only to find that the Fake News is still trying to perpetuate the phony story that I wanted to use Nuclear weapons to blow up hurricanes before they reach shore,” Trump tweeted early Tuesday.
“This is so ridiculous, never happened!”
Despite Trump’s denial of the idea, Axios – which first reported the news – said the president’s suggestion of bombing hurricanes was recorded in a National Security Council memo.
It said the document did not mention nuclear weapons specifically but did mention bombing hurricanes.
Axios had reported Monday that the president had multiple times suggested to national security officials that the US should use nuclear weapons to stop hurricanes, according to sources familiar with the conversations.
“It wasn’t that somebody was so terrified of the bombing idea that they wrote it down,” an unidentified source told Axios. “They just captured the president’s comments.”
A senior administration official told Axios: “We don’t comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team.”
From the G7 conference in France, Trump had denied the report, tweeting: “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!”
But Axios’ Jonathan Swan has stood by his story, tweeting in response to Trump’s denial: “I stand by every word in the story. He said this in at least two meetings during the first year and a bit of the presidency, and one of the conversations was memorialized.”
I stand by every word in the story. He said this in at least two meetings during the first year and a bit of the presidency, and one of the conversations was memorialized. https://t.co/5qs8o1k4QS
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) August 26, 2019
The suggestion that nuclear weapons could be used to halt hurricanes was posited by US government scientists in the 1950s but was dropped when the dangers of radiation contamination from such bombs became clear.
A statement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on its website said dropping a nuclear bomb into a hurricane would be “devastating” and might not alter the course of the storm but could result in radioactive material being spread by the storm’s winds.