Eight theories on Trump’s “incredible” new secret nuclear weapon

By John Krzyzaniak | September 18, 2020

trump nuclear football Illustration by Thomas Gaulkin (Vectorstock / DonkeyHotey via Creative Commons)

Donald Trump is famously tight-lipped. That’s why, when he revealed the existence of an “incredible” new secret nuclear weapon system in an interview with Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, even his own top nuclear commander didn’t know what he was talking about.

Experts outside of government could barely surmise what the weapon might be. Some suggested Trump was referring to a mini-nuke, recently deployed atop missiles on US submarines. Others thought he was talking about the Super Duper Missile.

These guesses are obviously wrong. (The Super Duper Missile is not even nuclear.) Worse, they’re an affront to the president’s uncanny ability to think big. There’s not just one, but at least eight state-of-the-art nuclear systems that Trump has been looking at since he came into office. Many of them, if not already deployed, are slated to come online well before his third term.

A nuclear winter machine. As the realities of climate change sink in, President Trump has been looking for a quick fix to make it all go away. When he visited wildfire-ravaged California on September 14 and confidently told officials there that, “It’ll start getting cooler,” they might not have been so incredulous if they had known about this secret system.

A nuclear football, to make the game more interesting. At recent campaign rallies, President Trump has complained that football is “boring as hell” now that players are allowed to openly protest racial injustice without facing punishment from the NFL. When one of his aides who carries the 45-pound briefcase that enables the president to authorize a nuclear strike at any time reminded him that the luggage is sometimes called “the football,” Trump responded, “Nuclear football—I like the sound of that. A nuclear football.”

A larger nuclear button. In 2018, President Trump coolheadedly put North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in his place by asserting that his own nuclear button was the larger and more functional of the two. (Wisely, he never revealed its precise dimensions.) Since then, he has been working on enlarging the button—prototypes are now 16 feet in diameter—to stay a step ahead in the great power competition. Although Trump wants to go even bigger, aides have pushed back, saying anything larger won’t fit under the Oval Office rug.

A nuclear-armed hurricane. Last year, President Trump was interested in exploring whether nuclear weapons could be used to stop hurricanes. Trump eventually realized that unleashing the power of one against the other would not work out so well. So, he thought, why not put them together?

A nuclear-powered Putin clone. President Trump has long admitted to being a big fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And when Putin unveiled several new Russian weapon systems in 2018 that he called “invincible,” Trump began thinking long and hard about how he could outmatch Putin’s cunning. He decided he wanted a Putin of his own.

A “nuclear option” for the border wall. In 2018, when the president heard lawmakers referring to a “nuclear option” to secure border wall funding, he got to thinking: Is there a bomb that could do the trick?

An Iranian “gift. President Trump has repeatedly expressed interest in renegotiating President Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, believing that getting Iran to give up its nuclear weapons will make him a strong candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. When advisers informed him that Iran doesn’t actually have any nuclear weapons, Trump set Pentagon officials to work on figuring out how to make a Bomb that they can give to Iran, so he can then negotiate it back.

A nuke the United States can use on itself and allies. President Trump is running for reelection on a “law and order” platform and, while his record is quite strong, he thought that one way to firm it up would be with a credible nuclear threat that could help in Portland. Or in negotiations over European spending on NATO.

As the coronavirus crisis shows, we need science now more than ever.

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Julius Mazzarella
Julius Mazzarella

A little humor is good. I still like Carl Sagan’s joke on nucelar weapons. “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.” … ” A situation that if it wasn’t so sad it would be laughable” What a great guy….wonder what he would have thought of Trumps super weapon. Or the fact that we still haven’t put the genie back in the bottle.

Paul Noblin
Paul Noblin

This article is the best satire, and information that I have read in quite a while. It is right on point. Please write more articles like this because I can’t deal with all these problems that plague America today. When I was young, my friends and I punched numbers on our phone. Someone came on the line, and asked me what I was up to. I told him that I was trying to take the trigger off the nuclear launch sequence off line because I was terrified at easy it might be to cause global destruction. I remain terrified. I… Read more »


Making fun about nuclear bombs is incredibly inconscious. If the author would have done some literature research he could have found some US research projects in the domain that are really horrifying.

Judith Schumacher-Jennings
Judith Schumacher-Jennings

I’m way not in the mood for satire around this issue.

Doc Strangelove

Ludicrousness kills! This is the only way to deal with morons. More of that stuff please. You did well, john.

Ryan Alt
Ryan Alt

Considering the fact that this is a Trump assertion, there is probably nothing to it at all.


You’re supposed to be the most reliable people on the most serious topic around… It’s 100s to midnight, a mad POTUS talks of a crazy new weapon and you laugh? If i want fun I’ll turn to comedians, the bulletin of atomic scientists is not here to make jokes imo. Next time i see you say “we have the scoop” it might not be worth the same you see… Idk i work in PR and I’m telling you this is not that smart for the Bulletin, there are plenty of blogs and stuff where it’s appropriate…

Brian Whit
Brian Whit

Farce and sarcasm seem out of place on existential threats. The missile he wants is what Russia was attempting to put up: a sub sonic nuclear powered cruise missile.
Add to that a recovering from Covid stroke prone Trump.
What could go wrong?
(You see, not very funny.)


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