Close to the start of Donald Trump’s time in workplace, the then-president had a urgent query for his national-security aides and administration officers: Does China have the key expertise — a weapon, even — to create massive, man-made hurricanes after which launch them at the USA? And in that case, would this represent an act of struggle by a overseas energy, and will the U.S. retaliate militarily? Then-President Trump repeatedly requested about this, based on two former senior administration officers and a 3rd individual briefed on the matter.
“It was virtually too silly for phrases,” stated a former Trump official intimately acquainted with the then-sitting president’s inquiry. “I didn’t get the sense he was joking in any respect.”
The sources, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate non-public conversations, inform Rolling Stone that Trump started interrogating national-security officers and different staffers concerning the alleged weapon in the course of the first yr of his presidency, and his query would pop up sporadically till a minimum of 2018. Two of the sources recalled that as Trump bought deeper into the second yr in his time period, he began to drop the subject, and infrequently joked about it.
In sure circles inside the higher ranks of Trumpland, the then-leader of the free world’s question grew to become such a mockable prevalence that it grew to become identified amongst some because the “Hurricane Gun” factor.
“I used to be current [once] when he requested if China ‘made’ hurricanes to ship to us,” stated the opposite former senior official. Trump “needed to know if the expertise existed. One man within the room responded, ‘To not the perfect of my information, sir.’ I stored it collectively till I bought again to my workplace… I have no idea the place the [then-]president would have heard about that… He was asking about it across the time, possibly just a little earlier than, he requested individuals about nuking hurricanes.”
This patently boneheaded line of inquiry from Trump, which has not been beforehand reported, was merely one occasion in an administration overflowing with Trump’s rampantly absurd, conspiracy-theory-powered concepts and coverage proposals, lots of which had been ignored or shot down, thus avoiding extra atrocities. Final week, it was revealed that Trump’s former Secretary of Protection Mark Esper wrote in his new memoir that his ex-boss needed to assault Mexico with missiles — throughout peacetime between the 2 nations — after which attempt to pin the blame on one other nation.
Regardless of leaving workplace in shame, Trump has continued on because the undisputed chief of the Republican Celebration and by far its hottest and influential nationwide determine. He’s at present the clear favourite to win the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, ought to he in the end resolve to launch one other marketing campaign. Although a last resolution has not but been made, Trump has strongly signaled to a wide range of associates and counselors that he intends to run once more, having made it his mission to show his anti-democratic lies concerning the 2020 election being “stolen” from him into social gathering orthodoxy.
A Trump spokesperson didn’t present touch upon this story.
“That doesn’t shock me in any respect,” says Stephanie Grisham, a former high Trump aide who has since had a really public break with the Trumps. Although Grisham stated she was not aware of the “Hurricane Gun” chatter, she merely famous: “Stuff like that was common for him. He would blurt out loopy issues on a regular basis, and inform aides to look into it or do one thing about it. His workers would say they’d look into realizing that as a rule, he’d neglect about it rapidly — very like a toddler.”
Trump’s “hurricane gun” inquiries add to a listing of wierd beliefs the previous president holds not nearly local weather science normally — which he has referred to as a hoax “created by and for the Chinese language” — however hurricanes specifically. Throughout the 2019 hurricane season, Trump insisted on telling the general public that Hurricane Dorian was headed in the direction of Alabama, which no fashions had predicted. Trump later appeared with a map that appeared to have been edited to incorporate a projection of the storm hitting Alabama. The incident, dubbed Sharpiegate for Trump’s misguided marking of a map, led to an inspector normal’s report which concluded that the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had falsely backed up Trump’s declare concerning the hurricane’s path because of White Home strain.
At occasions, Trump’s feedback about doable Wile E Coyote-style weapons have touched on equally weird concepts mulled by the U.S. in the course of the Chilly Warfare.
Throughout the 2019 hurricane season, Trump reportedly stored suggesting to aides that the U.S. bomb hurricanes with nuclear weapons within the mistaken perception that the explosions would in some way mitigate or destroy the tropical storms — an concept first floated by eccentric Chilly Warfare scientists engaged on Venture Plowshare, which tried to brainstorm peaceable makes use of for nuclear weapons.
The U.S. Air Drive’s Venture Popeye aimed to make use of cloud seeding — dropping salts and dry ice into clouds with a purpose to induce rain and snowfall — to attempt to defeat the insurgency in South Vietnam.
“The concept behind it was that we may we decelerate weapons and supplies getting from North to South Vietnam through the Ho Chi Minh path by making a monsoon season yr spherical in order that path could be unpassable,” explains Vince Houghton, a historian whose e book, Nuke the Moon, chronicles among the more unusual failed weapons of the Chilly Warfare.
Whereas cloud seeding works to create precipitation, it will possibly’t create hurricanes, which inflict harm primarily by means of sturdy winds and excessive storm surges fairly than rainfall. However China’s funding in cloud-seeding expertise for agricultural manufacturing and catastrophe mitigation has prompted conspiracy theories within the sorts of right-wing fever swamps that usually inform MAGA discourse.
Extra lately, right-wing believers within the QAnon conspiracy theories have taken to arguing that President Joe Biden used a Chinese language-made climate weapon to ship the freezing climate that crippled Texas energy strains as Sen. Ted Cruz fled to Cancun, Mexico.