The first rule of Eclipse Day is to never—never—look directly at the sun during the eclipse (or any other time, for that matter). But given how politics has saturated every facet of American life in 2017, even the moon passing in front of the giant glowing orb in the sky has become a partisan weapon.
On Twitter, countless critics of President Donald Trump are trying to trick the president’s supporters into looking directly at the solar eclipse. It is a vicious, horrible thing to suggest because anyone who actually does this would likely go blind for life or otherwise cause irreparable damage to their eyes.
— norman sauce (@madnadd) August 21, 2017
I hope Trump looks at sun throughout the entire eclipse without any protective gear.
— 𝑀𝑒𝑔𝒶𝓃 🤓🏳️🌈 (@GHeavenlyLegs) August 21, 2017
Some poorly educated trump supporter is going to look at the eclipse without glasses because you know – stupidity #SolarEclipse2017
— Hansworth (@Hansworth3) August 21, 2017
I hope Trump watch the eclipse without sunglasses ☺
— Kakarotto (@WWaldito) August 21, 2017
There are three people in this world that I wish would look up at the sky during the solar eclipse later. Trump, my ex, and Kim Jong Un.
— Alessia Fusca (@AlessiaFusca) August 21, 2017
honestly shocked trump still hasn't tweeted that looking directly at the sun during the eclipse is fine
— Jared Saltiel (@jaredsaltiel) August 21, 2017
As long as you’re wearing the proper protective eyewear or use a viewer (NASA has instructions for making one here), you can view the eclipse, which will reach totality across a swath of the entire United States. In fact, as the Boston Globe pointed out—sparking unending mockery—the parts of the U.S. that will be able to view the total solar eclipse are also regions that largely voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) August 1, 2017
At the end of the day, a natural phenomenon like a total solar eclipse has virtually nothing to do with politics. And using it to try to trick people into blinding themselves goes beyond mere political bickering—it’s downright dangerous and mean. Don’t do it.
Of course, it’s unlikely anyone’s going to believe some random person on Twitter over the common knowledge that staring at the sun is a dumb idea. (Although, we at the Daily Dot have witnessed comments by “eclipse truthers” who think you can look directly at the eclipse without protection—which, again, is not true.) Then again, considering how little people trust the media these days, perhaps anything is possible.
Update 2:18pm CT, Aug. 21: So, uh… President Trump looked at the eclipse without glasses.