spaceSpace and Physics

President Trump Looked At The Eclipse Without Protective Glasses


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

What else did you expect, honestly? The President, staring at the eclipse, without glasses. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

By now, images of the glorious solar eclipse that graced the shores of America have blasted their way across your news feeds. A few of you may have been lucky enough to witness the once-in-a-lifetime celestial dance in person, whether you were in Oregon or Tennessee, or anywhere in-between.

Even President Trump got in on the Sun-blocking action – but, being Donald J. Trump, he inevitably took in the majestic sights in precisely the wrong way.


It’s well documented that if you look at the eclipse with the naked eye, it does some serious damage to your retinas. Specifically, it burns them, which as you can imagine has some terrifically awful consequences for your vision.

That’s why that, all over social media, scientists and journalists were essentially screaming at people – sometimes in all caps – to make sure that everyone had their protective glasses on, so they could watch the eclipse without going blind. Now, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll never guess who ignored this advice.

Standing on a balcony in front of the press, the President of the United States, wearing no such ocular protection at all, stared up at the blazing Sun as the Moon gracefully shifted in front of it. According to reports, one aide shouted up at him: “Don’t look!”


He was originally shown wearing the protective glasses, but – shortly after flashing a thumbs up to the gather journalists – he decided to look up at the eclipse without wearing them. As ever, Trump simply couldn’t help himself.


Judging by the footage, it doesn’t look like he stared down the full might of our local star for too long, so it’s unlikely his retinas got too singed. Still, we’re not sure how he’s going to make America great again if he can’t actually see.

Incidentally, a press release sent out to journalists shortly before the eclipse took place explained that the Commander-in-Chief would be “watching the total eclipse from the Truman Balcony [of the White House] with the First Lady.” BuzzFeed’s Zahra Hirji noted that from Washington DC, only a partial eclipse would be seen – and shortly afterward, the White House press statement was updated.


The Trump administration and its figurehead already have the ignominious reputation of being the most anti-scientific federal government in living memory, but this may be a new record. Honestly: how can anyone get a solar eclipse wrong – on multiple occasions?

Well, there's a first time for everything, we suppose.


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