As millions of Americans gazed skyward in awe on Monday (21 August) to view the first total solar eclipse in nearly a century, President Donald Trump also briefly took in the historic spectacle - without protective viewing glasses.

Despite the huge amount of expert advice out there on safely watching the phenomenon, Trump looked directly at the sun without his protective glasses and pointed to the sky while watching with his wife Melania and youngest son Barron from the Truman balcony.

One of the White House aides standing below even shouted "Don't look!" as he did.

A few minutes later, he put on his glasses and watched the eclipse for about a minute and a half. In response to a reporter asking "how's the view", Trump gestured back with a thumbs up.

The internet, of course, went absolutely bonkers with photos of Trump squinting up at the sky becoming its new favourite meme.

One person tweeted: "We spent months telling people not to look at the eclipse and Trump just ... he just looked at it."

"Trump only had one thing to do today. One thing to not f**k up. All he had to do was not look directly at the sun. That's it," another wrote.

TPM editor Josh Marshall tweeted: "In fairness, looking directly into the sun, despite all the warnings, pretty much captures the Trump presidency."

Another person chimed in: "What an imbecile. Not even the secret service can save him from his stupidity."

US President Donald Trump looks up toward the solar eclipse joined by his wife Melania on the Truman balcony at the White House Mark Wilson/Getty Images