WH Alters Official Hurricane Forecast Map to Say President Was Correct Dorian Could Strike Alabama

WH Alters Official Hurricane Forecast Map to Say President Was Correct Dorian Could Strike Alabama

Over the last three years, there has been a rash of people comparing the Trump administration to the world of George Orwell’s 1984. This is a poor comparison. While the Party in 1984 at least put some effort into making its propaganda, the White House under Donald Trump is too lazy.

Thus we have spectacles like this press gaggle in the Oval Office on Wednesday in which this happened:

Let’s go through this from the beginning.

That NHC forecast was issued on Thursday, August 29. It showed Dorian crossing the Bahamas and making landfall in Florida before dissipating:

By the time Trump visited FEMA headquarters on Sunday, September 1, for a briefing on preparations for the hurricane, the forecast had changed. Now the storm was expected to make a right turn and head up the East Coast. This new forecast did not stop Trump from incorrectly claiming, both from the White House lawn and on Twitter, that Alabama was about to get walloped:

He was so egregiously wrong that the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Alabama, sent out a tweet 20 minutes later correcting Trump’s false statement:

On Monday, after various reporters, including Jon Karl of ABC, dutifully noted that Trump had been wrong about Alabama, the president again took to Twitter to declare himself right and the media wrong:

Original forecasts did not have Dorian putting any “hurt” on Alabama. And again, by the time Trump was publicly making those statements, he was relying on two-day old forecasts that had since been put aside in favor of new data predicting the storm would head north. He was wrong, plain and simple.

Fast forward to Wednesday in the Oval Office, when Trump held a blowup of what appeared to be the NHS chart from Thursday. Only now either Trump or someone on his team appeared to have used a black Sharpie to scribble an extra half-circle on Dorian’s projected path in a half-assed effort to make it look as if the NHS had in fact been predicting the hurricane could hit Alabama:

Rather than admit the reality that Trump was wrong, the White House simply tried to change reality. And did a really lazy job of it.

Asked about the marked-up map later, Trump offered a non-denial:

Also, as writer Dennis Mersereau pointed out, this change to the NHC chart could be illegal:

Whoever knowingly issues or publishes any counterfeit weather forecast or warning of weather conditions falsely representing such forecast or warning to have been issued or published by the Weather Bureau, United States Signal Service, or other branch of the Government service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both.

Just add it to the articles of impeachment.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.