Back in the carefree days of Summer 2016, we at Dealbreaker wrote that should Donald Trump win the presidency, you'd have Renaissance Technologies to thank. Well, he did, and you do. So now that his man is in the White House (at least Monday through Friday), what is Mercer most anxiously awaiting? Since Mercer lets his millions do most of the talking for him, it's hard to say exactly. But a big New Yorker profile out this week suggests there's at least one eventuality Trump seems to be encouraging that Mercer could get behind: atomic war.
But don't stress! The effects of nuclear annihilation would be perfectly salutary:
[A] onetime senior employee at Renaissance recalls hearing Mercer downplay the dangers posed by nuclear war. Mercer, speaking of the atomic bombs that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, argued that, outside of the immediate blast zones, the radiation actually made Japanese citizens healthier. The National Academy of Sciences has found no evidence to support this notion. Nevertheless, according to the onetime employee, Mercer, who is a proponent of nuclear power, “was very excited about the idea, and felt that it meant nuclear accidents weren’t such a big deal.”
Mercer isn't pulling his unorthodox opinions on the effects of extreme radiation out of thin air. Arthur Robinson, his go-to guy for climate change denialism and human urine experimentation, was apparently the one who disabused Mercer of the notion that nukes are bad for humans:
Robinson holds a degree in chemistry from Caltech, but his work is not respected in most scientific circles. (The Oregon senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, has called Robinson an “extremist kook.”) Robinson appears to be the source of Robert Mercer’s sanguine view of nuclear radiation: in 1986, Robinson co-authored a book suggesting that the vast majority of Americans would survive “an all-out atomic attack on the United States.”
So, should we meet again some sunny day on the other side of a worldwide thermonuclear holocaust inconvenience, please do give Bob Mercer the small satisfaction of taking a little bit of credit for it.