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Trump did suggest bombing hurricanes, NSC memo reportedly says

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US President Donald Trump has again denied a report claiming that he suggested using nuclear weapons to stop hurricanes — but news website Axios claims there is a formal National Security Council memo proving that he made the 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,” tweeted the president early Tuesday.

“This is so ridiculous, never happened!”

Read more: Trump’s G7 performance shows how he’s living in a totally different reality and isolating the US from the rest of the world

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 noted that the document did not mention the usage of nuclear weapons, but merely talked about bombing them.

Axios had reported Monday that the president had multiple times suggested to national security officials that they 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. They just captured the president’s comments,” an unidentified source told Axios.

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.”

A satellite image shows the eye of Hurricane Irma, which hit the US in September 2017.
NOAA / AP

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.”

The suggestion that nuclear weapons could be used to halt hurricanes was first suggested by US government scientists in the 1950s, but was dropped when the dangers of the radiation that would be caused by the bombs became clear.

Read more: Trump never made it to the G7 climate meeting, and world leaders say they are giving up on bringing the US back into the Paris accords

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.

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