To cleanse the palate. What was the one rule every eclipse-watcher knew by heart this morning? Right — don’t look directly at it without special filtered glasses. (Except during the 90 seconds or so of totality, when it’s fine.) Newspapers are littered with stories today about imbeciles who did that in previous eclipses, believing they were invincible, and ended up paying the price. Many more imbeciles did it today as well, of course, and are also paying the price. Word circulated this afternoon that the president himself would observe the eclipse today from the Truman balcony of the White House, which naturally kicked off a round of speculation. Was he, er, going to wear the glasses? Or would he go full Trump? Remember, he hates following conventional wisdom.
Trump critics imagined the fallout if he decided to “go commando,” as it were:
id say theres about a 50% chance this happens later pic.twitter.com/dQ1zqZWxqv
— leon (@leyawn) August 21, 2017
Preview of tonight’s Tucker Carlson pic.twitter.com/DawbInUrWl
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) August 21, 2017
He did, in fact, wear the glasses as the sun passed over D.C. — for the most part. But some of the still photos taken while he was on the balcony caught him sneaking glimpses without the protective eyewear, producing unintentionally hilarious photos that make it look like Trump was staring right into the heart of doom despite the omnipresent warnings not to do that. CNN (who else?) has no fewer than three pictures of Trump looking right at it. There was no totality in Washington rendering it safe to look, either. The sun was 81 percent obscured, still plenty visible enough to cause damage.
This is the moment Trump became president:
— Business Insider (@BusinessInsider) August 21, 2017
Is the president blind now? Nah. I think it’s just a case of the still photos being deceptive. He did sneak a few glimpses without the glasses, as you’ll see in this clip, but they were split-second peeks. The “Trump blinded himself by staring at the eclipse” story is, I dare say, fake news:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 21, 2017
He’ll be okay. I … think.
But wait — who’s that guy standing off to the side on the balcony with him? Could it be…?
Jeff Sessions hanging out with Trump at the White House? When did that rift get healed? Is it an eclipse miracle or did John Kelly pull the president aside and explain that it’s really weird and unseemly for him to be feuding publicly with his own handpicked AG? Either way, the stars have aligned and nationalist America has witnessed a harmonic convergence between the president and his populist attorney general.
Update: This reads like a pitch-perfect parody of Jared and Ivanka constantly spinning themselves as the voice of reason inside the White House after Trump does something questionable, but it appears to be legit:
Per sources: Ivanka/Jared among those pushing Trump to keep protective glasses on during eclipse Monday, "disappointed" that he did not…
— Benjamin Landy (@Ben_Landy) August 21, 2017