After Donald Trump denied using a black market to alter a map of Hurricane Dorian in order to make it look as if the storm would hit Alabama, pictures showed that there was a black marker on Trump’s desk at the time he showed off the outdated map.
Trump on Wednesday drew controversy for holding a press conference to show off a days-old projection of Hurricane Dorian that had been published National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, one with black marker drawn to make it appear as if the storm would move into Alabama. Trump earlier in the week had falsely claimed that the storm was projected to hit Alabama, then doubled down on the statement after the weather service had to issue a public correction to the president’s claim.
Wednesday’s press event appeared to be an attempt on Trump’s part to prove that he was not wrong and featured a map that had clearly been altered to include Alabama in the potential path of the storm. As The Daily Mail noted, Trump was questioned about the black sharpie afterward and denied having any knowledge of it.
“I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know,” Trump told a reporter when questioned later about the map.
But The Daily Mail report included a picture from Wednesday’s event showing a personalized sharpie marker with Trump’s own signature in gold on the desk as the president spoke to reporters at the briefing. Past reports have noted that Trump uses a sharpie almost exclusively when writing, from signatures to fans to his executive orders. As Business Insider noted last year, this has sometimes caused problems for the president as it made his private notes to himself visible at press events.
Trump has even professed his affinity for the sharpie, Business Insider noted. During a four-part television series put together by HBO and Axios, Trump explained that he found the sharpie to be much more effective than the government-issued pens.
“I was signing documents with a very expensive pen and it didn’t write well,” Trump said. “It was a horrible pen, and it was extremely expensive,” he added, referring to the so-called government-ordered pen.
“And then I started using just a Sharpie, and I said to myself, well wait a minute, this much writes much better and this cost almost nothing.”
I wrote about the Trump Sharpie-hurricane map and, more broadly, how it reinforces Trump's refusal to concede to reality. https://t.co/YsTVhgKdiA— Philip Bump (@pbump) September 4, 2019
The White House has still not said who altered the projection map of Hurricane Dorian, or why Trump chose to use a map that was several days old and obsolete given the changing course of the storm.