The White House reportedly pushed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to contradict scientists and back up Donald Trump’s claims that Hurricane Dorian was headed toward Alabama.
According to a report from The New York Times, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to have the NOAA disavow forecasters who accurately predicted that Alabama was not in the storm’s path.
The situation began earlier this month when Trump falsely claimed that the southern state was in the pathway of the oncoming hurricane, saying the state “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” The local Birmingham branch of the National Weather Service corrected Trump’s message, saying that Alabama wouldn’t feel any impact from the storm after residents became concerned that they were in the path of the hurricane.
Over the next few days, Trump continued to insist that the hurricane was originally expected to hit the state, despite comments from scientists assuring people to the contrary. The president even went so far as to host a meeting in the Oval Office where he pointed to a map showing the path of the storm, which had been apparently altered using a black market to extend the pathway into the state in order to support his claim.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 4, 2019
Trump spent the next few days attempting to back up his claim that the state would be impacted using out-of-date maps that showed Alabama being hit in one corner by tropical-storm-force winds.
This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages. As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies! pic.twitter.com/0uCT0Qvyo6
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2019
Eventually, the NOAA decided to issue a statement backing up Trump’s claims and slamming the Birmingham weather scientists for discrediting the president’s statement. According to The NYT, Ross called the acting administrator of the NOAA, Neil Jacobs, and instructed him to make it appear as though the NOAA supported his opinion on the storm’s path.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, at the time, the NOAA staff was told not to publicly contradict Trump’s claims. Scientists were shocked by the directive.
“This is the first time I’ve felt pressure from above to not say what truly is the forecast,” one meteorologist said. “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around.”
Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, called out the NOAA’s support of Trump’s statement.
“Let me assure you the hard-working employees of the NWS had nothing to do with the utterly disgusting and disingenuous tweet sent out by NOAA management tonight,” Sobien said.