In yet another perfect storm of incompetence, dishonesty and juvenile insecurity, President Trump used a doctored National Hurricane Center map to “prove” he was right about yet another issue he got totally wrong.
After canceling a state trip to Poland so he could monitor the hurricane’s progress from the Back Nine, Trump claimed that Dorian was on track to impact Alabama. Where the “stable genius” got this dumb idea is unclear, since none (as in zero) of the Hurricane Center’s models projected Dorian to roll tide in the “Heart of Dixie.”
As always when he is confronted with an objective reality that clashes with his version of events, Trump insisted he was right and produced an “official” NOAA forecast map to prove it. The map was five days old, which the casual observer might not notice, but it was impossible to miss the crude extension of Dorian’s “cone” into Alabama.
Someone just drew it there. With a Sharpie.
Trump of course denied any involvement of even knowledge of who in the White House is a budding graffiti artist and hurricane hoaxer. Instead, the Tweeter-in-Chief blasted the “Fake News Media” for unfairly reporting the facts without considering The Chosen One‘s divine right to never be wrong.
“In addition to Florida — South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,” the President tweeted on Sunday morning.
Local Alabama and National Weather Service meteorologists rushed to assure the public that the president tweeted in error: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east,” the Birmingham office of the NWS tweeted.
Trump stuck to his cap guns, telling reporters that Dorian “may get a little piece of a great place: It’s called Alabama.” The state “could even be in for at least some very strong winds and something more than that, it could be. This just came up, unfortunately.”
Even more unfortunately for Trump, it was false. No forecast called for Alabama to experience “very strong winds and something more than that,” so someone in the White House grabbed a Sharpie and made one up.
On Wednesday, a reporter asked Trump who drew the phony cone. The president said, “I don’t know; I don’t know.”
Trump should do his best to find out. Whoever wielded the Sharpie didn’t just create a ridiculous fraud. Doctoring official government weather forecasts is a crime. From the U.S. Code: “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.”
You can get 90 days in prison for falsifying a forecast. The sentence for faking a presidency remains to be seen.