Our Extremely Normal President May Have Altered A Hurricane Map With A Sharpie To Remain ‘Correct’

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On the heels of his incredibly important Twitter feud with actress Debra Messing during a series of national crises, President Donald Trump turned his attention back to Hurricane Dorian, the Category 2 storm that devastated the Bahamas and is currently threatening the east coast. He did so by hosting a brief information session with reporters in the Oval Office, during which he produced what many observers noted was an outdated map from the National Hurricane Center. What’s more, said map had apparently been altered by Trump or someone on his staff.

“We got lucky in Florida,” he told reporters while demonstrating the admittedly old map. “It was going to be hitting [Florida] directly, and that would have affected a lot of other states, but that was the original chart. It was going to hit not only Florida, but Georgia… it was going toward the Gulf [of Mexico]. That was what we, what was originally projected. And it took a right turn. Ultimately, hopefully, we’re going to be lucky.”

Though Trump did say that the map he was showing off (in what has since been posted to the White House’s official Twitter account) was outdated, that he was even doing this days later — after Dorian had already flown past the Bahamas and toward the southeastern United States — made little sense. At least, that was until several meteorologists, weather and science reporters, and others noticed something odd about the map in question. The hurricane’s project path over Florida, then represented by a white bubble, had been added to.

Someone had quite literally extended it with a black pen or Sharpie so that Alabama was included.

So, why does this matter? Because on Sunday, soon after this initial map was released, Trump claimed that “South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” on Twitter.

The claim flew in the face of the National Hurricane Center’s then-current projections, forcing them and other meteorological agencies and news outlets to issue corrections so as to avoid a panic in Alabama. But in true Trumpian fashion, the president doubled down on his false assertion that Alabama was in the storm’s path. “I suggested yesterday at FEMA that, along with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, even Alabama could possibly come into play, which WAS true,” he wrote. “Always good to be prepared! But the Fake News is only interested in demeaning and belittling.”

It would seem that, despite Dorian’s downgrade from a Category 5 to a Category 2 storm, and despite its sudden turn away from Florida and up the eastern seaboard, Trump is still insisting that he was right to say that Alabama was in the storm’s initial projected path — even though it wasn’t.

Needless to say, both informed critics and Twitter’s typical commenters were nonplussed by the president’s evident desire to triple down on his initial claims by altering an official weather map.

As many were quick to note, what Trump or one of his staffers allegedly did to the map was a violation of federal law.

As the session continued, reporters in the Oval Office who noticed the alteration (and the tweets about it) began asking Trump about it, but he rebuffed their questions.

Nor, for that matter, did the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — the organization behind the National Hurricane Center — seem all that eager to comment publicly.

(Via CNN)