Hurricane Dorian smashed into the Bahamas on Sunday, according to an NBC News report, raking the islands with 185 miles-per-hour winds after gaining so much power that meteorologists upgraded the storm to a Category 5 hurricane. Donald Trump delivered a statement attempting to warn Americans along the United States mainland’s southeastern coastline of the extreme dangers posed by the hurricane, which is expected to hit Florida on Monday.
In fact, the hurricane’s strength left Trump so impressed that he claimed in the statement, as quoted by the news site Contemptor, that he had never even heard of a Category 5 hurricane.
“We don’t even know what’s coming at us. We know it’s possibly the biggest,” Trump said, seated behind a name card reading “The President,” as seen in the video that may be viewed below on this page. “I’m not sure I’ve heard of a Category 5. I knew it existed and I’ve seen some Category 4s. You don’t even see them that much, but a Category 5 is something I don’t know I’ve heard the term other than I know it’s there.”
In fact, it was only about 11 months ago — on October 10, 2018, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — that Hurricane Michael slammed into Florida’s Gulf Coast with winds measured at 160 miles-per-hour, making the storm a Category 5 hurricane.
Hurricane Michael was the fourth Category 5 hurricane to hit the continental U.S., according to USA Today, but the first since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
But there have actually been three Category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic since Trump’s own inauguration less than three years ago — Michael and two others, both of which caused severe damage to U.S. territories in the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma struck almost exactly two years ago, in the first week of September 2017. It was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record when it swept through the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Weather Underground, with 180 mph winds, making the storm a Category 5.
Just two weeks after Irma, Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Listed as a Category 4 hurricane at the time it struck, meteorologists examined data that later found that winds in the hurricane had indeed reached Category 5 levels, according to The Miami Herald.
Trump, in theory, should have clear memories of Hurricane Maria because he has been widely criticized for a slow and inadequate response to the crisis on the island. Trump has engaged in a feud with political leaders in the self-governing territory ever since. As recently as four days ago, Trump again blasted Puerto Rican officials as “incompetent,” according to The Washington Post, even as Dorian threatened further destruction on the island.