Trump 'suggests nuking hurricanes', later denies it (Lead)
Biarritz (France), Aug 26 (IANS) US President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed as "fake news" a report which said that he suggested using nuclear weapons to stop hurricanes from hitting the country.
Trump, who was meeting world leaders at the G-7 in France, took to Twitter to hit out at American news outlet Axios' report that said he had raised the idea of using nuclear weapons to alter the course of hurricanes with senior Homeland Security and national security officials.
"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," the President wrote on Twitter. "Just more fake news!"
The Axios report had said that Trump suggested the idea in hurricane briefings over the first two years of his presidency.
During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said: "I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?"
"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?" a source present at the briefing told Axios quoting the President as saying.
Asked how the briefer reacted, the source recalled he said something to the effect of, "we'll look into that".
Trump replied by asking incredulously how many hurricanes the US could handle and reiterating his suggestion that the government should intervene before they make landfall, the report said.
The briefer "was knocked back on his heels", the source said, adding "People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, 'What do we do with this?'."
Trump also raised the idea in another conversation with a senior administration official, according to the Axios report.
A 2017 National Security Council (NSC) memo described a 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 told Axios that it does not contain the word "nuclear", but it just says that the President talked about bombing hurricanes.
The ongoing 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season in the US that officially began on June 1, will end on November 30.
Hurricane Barry made landfall in the state of Louisiana in July. This was the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.