President Trump Asked National Security Officials About Weaponized, Man-Made Hurricanes from China: Report

The former president reportedly brought up the supposed secret technology during the first year of his presidency and into the second, according to Rolling Stone

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Donald Trump. Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Early in his presidency, Donald Trump reportedly asked national security officials multiple times about the existence of weaponized, man-made hurricanes from China.

Two unnamed former senior administration officials and a third person briefed on the matter told Rolling Stone that Trump brought up a supposed secret technology that would allow China to create sizable hurricanes on command and launch them at the U.S.

The former president asked about it repeatedly during his first year in office, according to the report. The question came up sporadically until at least 2018, before Trump stopped inquiring about what some began calling "Hurricane Guns" or merely joking about it.

"It was almost too stupid for words," a former Trump official — "intimately familiar with the then-sitting president's inquiry," according to Rolling Stone — told the outlet. "I did not get the sense he was joking at all."

Another former senior official who claimed to be present when the president asked about the "Hurricane Guns" said Trump "wanted to know if the technology existed."

"One guy in the room responded, 'Not to the best of my knowledge, sir.' I kept it together until I got back to my office," the official said. "I do not know where the [then-]president would have heard about that … He was asking about it around the time, maybe a little before, he asked people about nuking hurricanes."

Hurricane Dorian

In a 2019 tweet, Trump said reports that he asked about using nuclear weapons to stop hurricanes heading toward the U.S. were "FAKE NEWS."

A rep for the former president did not respond to PEOPLE's request for a comment on Trump's questions about purported Chinese weaponized hurricanes.

Former Trump aide-turned-tell-all author and nemesis Stephanie Grisham said she never heard buzz about "Hurricane Guns" but added that the report "does not surprise me at all."

"Stuff like that was not unusual for him. He would blurt out crazy things all the time, and tell aides to look into it or do something about it," Grisham told Rolling Stone. "His staff would say they'd look into knowing that more often than not, he'd forget about it quickly — much like a toddler."

Trump has a history with hurricanes.

In addition to the reports about nuking storms, there was the time in 2017 when he tossed paper towels at Hurricane Maria survivors in storm-devastated Puerto Rico. And then there was the Hurricane Dorian episode in 2019, also known as "Sharpiegate."

After Trump tweeted a warning that said Alabama "will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated," the National Weather Services corrected the president and said the storm was too far east to make landfall on the Alabama coast.

"Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama," the Birmingham branch of the NWS tweeted.

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Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty

Days later, Trump appeared in the Oval Office holding up a map of Hurricane Dorian's predicted path. A white circle printed on the map showed the regions that could be affected by the storm, but a line that appeared to be added with a black marker extended the danger zone into Alabama.

Asked about the modification, Trump said he didn't know how the black line got onto the map.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration later released an unsigned statement that somewhat supported Trump's initial claim that Alabama could be affected by the approaching storm.

The New York Times later reported that the statement came after Trump's Sec. of Commerce Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top employees at the agency responsible for weather forecasts after the NWS' Birmingham branch corrected the president.

The Commerce Department denied Ross threatened to fire NOAA staff on his behalf.

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