When Donald Trump received a public briefing on the status of Hurricane Dorian Wednesday morning, sharp-eyed observers noted something odd about the weather map displayed by Trump to show the “track and intensity” of the hurricane. Someone, possibly Trump himself according to the news site AL.com, had added an extra line to the projected outline of the hurricane, in what appeared to be a Sharpie felt pen.
The Sharpie line extended the supposed track of the hurricane to include parts of Alabama, a state that the National Weather Service said bluntly on Twitter would not be affected by the path of Hurricane Dorian.
But on Sunday, Trump on his own Twitter account and in a public statement as well, said that Alabama would be “hit hard,” and would receive “a bit of a beat down” by Dorian, which at the time registered as a Category 5 hurricane, as The Inquisitr reported.
When confronted with his error the following day, rather than admitting he was wrong, Trump simply doubled down on the mistake, even blasting an ABC News journalist who reported on Trump’s incorrect “Alabama” warning as a “lightweight,” as Yahoo! News reported. Trump also dismissed the ABC News reports on the hurricane as “phony.”
The black outlined area on this very outdated @NHC_Atlantic #Dorian graphic that Trump just used in his update was added and not a part of the official forecast. @WhiteHouse pic.twitter.com/XMQmepPyj6— Kait Parker (@WeatherKait) September 4, 2019
On Wednesday during the White House hurricane briefing, Trump — or someone with a felt-tip pen — appeared to be further attempting to cover for the mistake, drawing a bulge in black marker that extended into Alabama, as pointed out in the above tweet by Weather.com atmospheric scientist Kait Parker.
Another weather journalist, Dennis Mersereau of DAMWeather.com, also noted the strange alternation on his Twitter account, saying, that Trump, “altered a National Hurricane Center map with a sharpie to falsely extend the official forecast toward Alabama so he didn’t have to admit he was wrong in a tweet.”
Mersereau also noted on Twitter that federal law makes it a crime to “falsify a National Weather Service forecast and pass it off as official,” as Trump or one of his aides apparently had done.
According to the U.S. Code, as posted online by Cornell Law School, anyone who “publishes any counterfeit weather forecast” or falsifies an official government weather warning could be fined, or face up to 90 days in jail.
NBC News reporter Allan Smith also noted that Trump “displayed an apparently doctored map in the Oval Office” that showed Alabama in the path of the hurricane.
In his statements to reporters during the briefing, Trump once again claimed that Alabama was projected to have been in the destructive path of Hurricane Dorian, according to the NBC News report.
“I know that Alabama was in the original forecast, they thought it would get a piece of it. We have a better map,” Trump claimed. “In all cases Alabama was hit.”