President Donald Trump made the same mistake during the total solar eclipse that scientists had been warning against for weeks: He looked directly into the sun without protective glasses.
As Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, 11, emerged on the Truman Balcony of the White House on Monday, the president put on “eclipse glasses”, then took them off and, for a brief moment, stared upwards at the sun.
“As he did this, someone in a crowd of aides below shouted ‘Don’t look,’ ” according to the Wall Street Journal‘s Ted Mann, who posted a photo from the moment on Twitter.
Earlier on Monday, First Daughter and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump reminded her followers on Instagram to wear protective glasses for the eclipse. She shared a Boomerang video of herself wearing special-filter glasses in anticipation of the event.
The moon blocked out the sun on Monday in the first total solar eclipse to pass over the mainland United States in 38 years. Solar glasses are a must for anyone who wants to view the eclipse.
“Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality,” NASA explained on its website. “The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as ‘eclipse glasses.’ ”
Twitter had a field day over Trump’s moment in the sun, which some said perfectly summed up his presidency.
Trump wasn’t the only one who looked at the sun sans glasses. A Twitter video of Odell Beckham Jr. showed the NFL star squinting into the sun during the eclipse.
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Trump’s viewing of the solar eclipse comes after a week plagued by controversy.
Trump has faced widespread criticism for refusing to unequivocally lay blame for Aug. 12’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the white supremacists who marched through that college town wielding torches and weapons while shouting racist taunts at a rally. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and at least 19 others were injured when a driver rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, according to The New York Times. Authorities said two state troopers were also killed in a helicopter crash as they were responding to the rally.
Controversy continued to surround the White House on Friday, when Trump fired his chief strategist Steve Bannon amid growing pressure to axe the former Breitbart News chairman because of his ties with the white nationalist movement.