Early in Donald Trump’s term, the then-president had a pressing question for his national security aides and administration officials: Does China have the secret technology — a weapon, even — to create large man-made hurricanes and then launch them in the United States? And if so, would this constitute an act of war by a foreign power, and could the United States retaliate militarily? Then-President Trump asked about it several times, according to two former senior administration officials and a third person briefed on the matter.
“It was almost too stupid for words,” said a former Trump official intimately familiar with the incumbent president’s investigation. “I didn’t get the impression he was joking at all.”
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, say rolling stone that Trump began questioning national security officials and other personnel about the alleged weapon during the first year of his presidency, and his question would appear sporadically until at least 2018. Two of the sources recalled that as Trump delved into the second year in his term, he began to drop the subject and occasionally joked about it.
In some circles within the upper ranks of Trumpland, the then-leader of the Free World Question became such a mocking event that he became known to some as the “Hurricane Gun.”
“I was present [once] when he asked if China had ‘manufactured’ hurricanes to send to us,” the other former senior official said. Trump “wanted to know if the technology existed. A guy in the room replied, “Not to my knowledge, sir.” I kept it until I got back to my office… I don’t know where the [then-]the president would have heard of this… He was asking about this at the time, maybe a little before, he was asking people about nuclear hurricanes.
This blatantly stupid line of inquiry from Trump, which has gone unreported before, was just one example in an administration brimming with nonsensical, conspiracy theory-driven ideas and policy proposals from Trump, many of which were ignored or shot down, thus avoiding further atrocities. Last week, it was revealed that former Trump Defense Secretary Mark Esper wrote in his new memoir that his ex-boss wanted to attack Mexico with missiles – in peacetime between the two nations – then try to blame it on another country.
Although he left office in disgrace, Trump remained the undisputed leader of the Republican Party and by far its most popular and influential national figure. He is currently the heavy favorite to win the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, should he ultimately decide to launch another campaign. Although a final decision has yet to be made, Trump has strongly signaled to various associates and advisers that he intends to run again, having made it his mission to reverse his anti-democratic lies about the fact that the 2020 elections would have been “stolen” from him. in party orthodoxy.
A Trump spokesperson did not comment on this story.
“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” says Stephanie Grisham, a former Trump aide who has since had a very public breakup with the Trumps. Although Grisham said she was unaware of the ‘Hurricane Gun’ chatter, she simply noted, “Things like that weren’t unusual for him. He would blurt out crazy things all the time and say his assistants to look into it or do something about it, his staff would say he would seek to know that more often than not he would forget about it quickly, much like a toddler.
Trump’s ‘hurricane gun’ investigations add to a list of bizarre beliefs the former president not only has about climate science in general – which he called a hoax ‘made by and for the Chinese’ – but on hurricanes in particular. During the 2019 hurricane season, Trump insisted on telling the public that Hurricane Dorian was heading towards Alabama, which no model had predicted. Trump later appeared with a map that appeared to have been edited to include a projection of the storm hitting Alabama. The incident, dubbed Sharpiegate for Trump’s erroneous marking of a map, led to an inspector general’s report that concluded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration falsely supported Trump’s claim to the trajectory of the ocean. hurricane following pressure from the White House.
At times, Trump’s comments about possible Wile E Coyote weapons have touched on equally bizarre ideas mulled over by the United States during the Cold War.
During the 2019 hurricane season, Trump allegedly kept suggesting to his aides that the United States was bombarding hurricanes with nuclear weapons in the mistaken belief that the explosions would somehow mitigate or destroy them. tropical storms – an idea first floated by eccentric Cold War scientists working on Project Plowshare, which attempted to think about peaceful uses of nuclear weapons.
The US Air Force’s Project Popeye aimed to use cloud seeding – dropping salts and dry ice into clouds to induce rain and snowfall – to attempt to defeat the insurgency in South Vietnam.
“The idea behind it was that we could slow down the transport of weapons and materials from North to South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail by creating a year-round monsoon season so that this trail would be impassable,” explains Vince Houghton, a historian whose book , Nape the moonchronicles some of the most bizarre weapons that failed during the Cold War.
While cloud seeding works to create precipitation, it cannot create hurricanes, which inflict damage primarily through high winds and heavy storm surges rather than precipitation. But China’s investment in cloud seeding technology for agricultural production and disaster mitigation has sparked conspiracy theories in the types of right hand fever swamps that often inform the MAGA discourse.
More recently, right-wing proponents of QAnon conspiracy theories have begun to claim that President Joe Biden used a Chinese-made device. weather weapon to dispatch the freezing weather that crippled power lines in Texas as Senator Ted Cruz fled to Cancun, Mexico.