After hitting the Bahamas on Sept. 1, where it caused severe damage and killed dozens of people, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in North Carolina on Sept. 6 as a Category 1 hurricane. It is expected to continue to work its way north, according to updates from the National Hurricane Center — but not according to President Donald Trump, who is continuing to insist that the hurricane was predicted to hit parts of Alabama. Despite these claims being routinely debunked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Donald Trump's tweets about Alabama and Hurricane Dorian just won't let it go.
On Sept. 1, Trump tweeted that "in addition to Florida — South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated." Just 20 minutes after the president tweeted that claim, the Birmingham, Alabama Twitter account for the NOAA's National Weather Service predicted the opposite.
"Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian," the NWS tweeted. "We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east."
The NOAA's forecasts didn't stop the president from doubling down on his claims about Alabama and Dorian, however. Later that same day, Trump told reporters that "Alabama is going to get a piece of" Dorian, and he repeated this claim during a Hurricane Dorian briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters. Throughout the day, Trump suggested that his claims were supported by new information. However, while NOAA forecasts from previous days briefly indicated that a tiny part of southeastern Alabama could be impacted by Dorian's winds, forecasts from Sept. 1 showed the storm moving north instead — away from Alabama.
Despite updated forecasts contradicting the president's claims, he spent the rest of the week continuing to argue that hurricane conditions could impact Alabama. On Sept. 4, Trump displayed a NOAA forecast map of Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office. The map was from Aug. 29, however, and quickly went viral because it appeared to have been modified with a black Sharpie. The map that Trump displayed had a think black line on it that extended the hurricane's projected path into Alabama. NOAA's original map did not contain such a line, per The New York Times. When a reporter asked him if the map had been doctored with a Sharpie, Trump said he didn't know and quickly proceeded to the next question.
Later that day, Trump tweeted a map from the South Florida Water Management District, CNN reported — a map called a "spaghetti model" that contained data about the storm but that wasn't an actual forecast. Trump argued that the map proved Dorian was originally supposed to hit Alabama. However, the map was from Aug. 28 — before Trump made his Sept. 1 comments about the storm potentially impacting Alabama — and it wasn't from the NOAA's National Hurricane Center. On Sept. 5, the South Florida Water Management Center reportedly told CNN in a statement that it produces hundreds of spaghetti models per day and constantly updates them.
All of this information was still not enough to stop Trump from honing in on Alabama. Throughout the day on Sept. 5, Trump routinely tweeted that the "Fake News Media" was trying to catch him in a mistake, posting multiple tweets doubling down on the point.
"Alabama was going to be hit or grazed, and then Hurricane Dorian took a different path (up along the East Coast)," Trump tweeted at one point. "The Fake News knows this very well. That’s why they’re the Fake News!"
Trump even reportedly went so far as to call Fox News Senior White House Correspondent John Roberts into the Oval Office, in order to make the case that he hadn't been mistaken about Alabama. That same day, Trump's homeland security adviser — Coast Guard Rear Adm. Peter Brown — released a statement via the White House saying that Trump's Sept. 1 comments followed a briefing from Brown.
"The President's comments were based on that morning's Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama," the statement read, per Business Insider. An unnamed White House source reportedly told CNN that Trump had personally asked Brown to make that statement. The White House did not immediately respond to Elite Daily' request for comment on the subject of Trump's reported call to Roberts, or the reported request to Brown.
When Trump first made comments about Alabama and Dorian on Sept. 1, there were no NOAA forecasts to support his claims, though the president continues to insist that "initial" forecasts backed him up. It isn't the first time that Trump hasn't been keen to admit a mistake — but a mistake about where a hurricane will hit could be pretty serious.