President Donald Trump did exactly what scientists have been warning people not to do for weeks: stare directly at the sun without protective glasses. No word yet on if it’s because he thought the science was “fake news.”
As the first family filtered out onto the Truman Balcony of the White House Monday to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse, Trump just couldn’t help but take a peek — first lady Melania and the couple’s 11-year-old son Barron viewed the eclipse from behind the safety of their NASA-approved “eclipse frames.”
Trump put on his glasses but then took them off, staring upwards into 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 of the moment on Twitter.
As he did this, someone in a crowd of aides below shouted "Don't look." pic.twitter.com/dtfSLEzcAZ— Ted Mann (@TMannWSJ) August 21, 2017
Trump didn’t heed the warning of scientists, who have for weeks warned people about the dangers of staring into a partially eclipsed sun. In Washington, a total eclipse wasn’t even visible — at peak viewing, at about 2:43 p.m., the sun was about 81 percent eclipsed.
“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.’”
But Trump didn’t heed his own daughter’s warning either — Ivanka issued a final warning for her Instagram followers around 1 p.m. saying, “Excited for #Eclipse2017? Remember to wear your glasses 👓 #NASA #STEM”
Trump’s misstep didn’t go unnoticed on social media, and the snark followed just moments later.
“This photo sums up the Trump Presidency. Everyone tells you not to stare at the #SolarEclipse but Trump doesn't listen and does it anyways,” Twitter user @RedTRaccoon said.
“Scientist: Don't look directly at the sun. Trump: 'Fake News,'” tweeted @DMVFollowers.
Scientist: Don't look directly at the sun.— DC Maryland Virginia (@DMVFollowers) August 21, 2017
Trump: 'Fake News' pic.twitter.com/cSAIKMiGkd
“If nothing else inspires you to avoid looking at the eclipse, let it be the fact that Trump did,” @crissles tweeted.
if nothing else inspires you to avoid looking at the eclipse, let it be the fact that Trump did. https://t.co/HjMvXvy4LE— king crissle (@crissles) August 21, 2017
Here are a few more of our favorites:
"Don't stare right into the sun during a solar eclipse"— Renato Mazariegos (@RPMSports18) August 21, 2017
Odell Beckham: pic.twitter.com/FZXGGLJwJ2
I honestly didn't think there could be a way Trump could embarrass us just by watching a solar eclipse.— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) August 21, 2017
Yet, here we are.
Scientists: Don't look straight at sun during eclipse.— Dan Worthington (@danWorthington) August 21, 2017
Trump: Hold my glasses. pic.twitter.com/3MySTJYq4d