Despite the weeks of warnings from ophthalmologists to not look directly at the solar eclipse, 45* eschewed that advice, and, well, you know the rest.

That photo above is not photoshopped, nor is it from another event. A White House pool report from The Guardian‘s Ben Jacobs corroborated the photo by telling an additional story of 45* telling reporters and staffers assembled outside of the White House during the eclipse to ruin their eyes, as well.

“At approximately 2:39, the President initially gesticulated to the crowd below and pointed at the sky,” Jacobs wrote. “As he did so, one of the White House aides standing beneath the Blue Room Balcony shouted ‘don’t look.'”

Wearing special solar eyeglasses to observe the eclipse has been common knowledge all summer long, and libraries and museums across the country have been handing them out to everyday citizens with enough common sense to know that you shouldn’t look directly at the sun or else you’ll burn your goddamn eyeballs out.

Last week, David J. Calkins, who is the vice chair and director for research at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Tennessee, published a paper in the American Medical Association’s Ophthalmology journal specifically detailing what happens to the human eye when looking directly at a solar eclipse without the proper equipment (hint: you’ll burn your goddamn eyeballs out):

“The spectrum of sunlight contains a significant fraction of near-infrared radiation (700-1500 nm), which can cause direct thermal injury (burns) via heat,” Calkins wrote. “Because we cannot see this light, and the retina lacks nociceptive receptors to signal pain, damage can occur without our knowledge.”

“[Looking directly at the eclipse] can range from blurry vision to absolute permanent vision loss,” America Optometric Association president Christopher Quinn told the New York Times.

Of course, it’s no surprise that 45 is ignoring multiple warnings from scientists. He does, after all, believe that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to harm American infrastructure, and has used his official Twitter account to cast doubt on climate science approximately 115 times. His government regularly makes decisions that ignore science in order to advance the interests of industry, like halting scientific research about the harmful effects of mountaintop removal mining, or greenlighting the use of a pesticide that his predecessor’s administration banned for causing brain damage to children.

So if you’re reading this, 45, just remember that only the strongest and most winningest eyes are capable of looking at the sun without being permanently damaged. The choice is yours.

(*EDITOR’S NOTE: is now exclusively referring to Donald Trump as “45.” Please read our official statement on Twitter explaining the decision.)


Matthew P. Robbins is an economics reporter for Grit Post covering wages, budgets, and taxes. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his husband and two cats. 

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