As a former reality show star and media personality, Donald Trump's time as President of the United States has had a pretty unique relationship with popular culture. One of the more recent reports about Trump's administration has gotten quite a lot of attention -- particularly among those who are fans of a certain SYFY franchise. Over the weekend, Axios published a report that claimed Trump suggested using nuclear weapons to destroy hurricanes before they hit the United States. The article went viral for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that the idea of nuking hurricanes served as a plot point in the first Sharknado movie.
Trump took to Twitter to address the report on Monday morning, and although he didn't mention the Sharknado of it all, he denied that he had ever suggested blowing up hurricanes in the first place.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2019
If you don't remember the ins and outs of the Sharknado franchise, the first film culminated in Fin (Ian Ziering) finding his son Matt (Chuck Hittinger), who suggested throwing bombs into the centers of incoming "sharknados". Some of the movie's ensemble boarded a helicopter and proceeded to battle the sharknados from the skies.
Axios' reporting claims that Trump suggested the idea at least twice during the first year of his presidency, first during a hurricane briefing at the White House, and again during a conversation with a senior administration official. The second conversation was captured in a 2017 NSC memo.
"[It covered] multiple topics, not just hurricanes." a source told Axios of the memo. "...It wasn't that somebody was so terrified of the bombing idea that they wrote it down. They just captured the president’s comments."
As Axios points out, neither Trump nor Sharknado truly came up with the idea of bombing hurricanes, as the idea has been floated as early as the Eisenhower era. In response to the frequent re-emergence of the theory, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a fact sheet explaining why the science of it wouldn't work.
"Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems." the fact sheet reads in part. "Needless to say, this is not a good idea."
This isn't the first time that Trump has been tangentially associated with the Sharknado franchise, as he was reportedly in talks to play the fictional President of the United States in 2015's Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!. According to a 2017 article by The Hollywood Reporter, the potential cameo went as far as getting a contract drawn up, before his attorney Michael Cohen claimed it would interfere with Trump's actual run for the presidency. The cameo ultimately went to Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban.