by Graham Pierrepoint
The solar eclipse that occurred earlier this week was being touted as a once-a-century event – and as many states in the US set up telescopes, tripods and viewing boxes to take note of the fascinating event unfolding above their heads, they all, generally, had one thing in common. This was, of course, to wear protective eyewear. Looking directly at the sun can permanently damage your eyesight – and the same, too, goes for looking at a solar eclipse! One high-profile gentleman, however, failed to heed the warnings, and the proven science, that actively warns sungazers to avoid looking up directly at the orb. Take a bow, President Trump.
Donald Trump was captured both on social media and in the media as he was seen to squint up at the unfurling eclipse above him without any protective eyewear – pointing up as he did so – while flanked by First Lady Melania and youngest son Barron. Trump seemed eager to take a peek at the unique event without a care in the world – though it seemed one or two hurried (and worried) aides were quick to try and convince the President otherwise.
It’s been stated online that an aide could be heard shouting ‘don’t look’ as Trump appeared to take a squint at the sun – before a pair of protective eye glasses were ushered to him in extreme haste. Naturally, both the internet and the mass media have leapt upon this event – as it was, unfortunately, too late for the Commander-in-Chief to claw back any credibility from the event. The blunder is likely to have concerned many who worry that Trump will have left a poor impression on young people – while others, such as those who are defiantly opposed to the President’s anti-climate change stance, were quick to make the same joke.
The joke? That Trump was not only willing to ignore science to look straight at the sun, but also to defy any existing evidence of global warming. It’s another incident, one which is albeit a little more light-hearted than those of recent weeks, which brings the President’s credibility into question. While this may have been a simple mistake, many are concerned that the US President should perhaps have been better prepared for the publicity photos – which have instead resulted in further mockery from opponents and those who merely found his inaction funny online.