When Trump falsely claimed that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama, it was supposed to be just a small misunderstanding that would have easily been corrected and everyone moved on. But the president appears to believe that he can never be wrong.
What followed after this claim was a back and forth between the White House and the media. Trump bashed the press for actually reporting what he had said and based on the forecasts that had been issued by the National Hurricane Center, the President was wrong.
But the history of events that eventually led to this spat with the press could have been avoided. When Trump first made the claim on Twitter, he was corrected by the National Weather Service just 20 minutes later. However, the president insisted that his initial claim was in fact right. He even went on to defend his assertions using outdated maps and video manipulation to try and push the claim as the truth.
However, and perhaps even more bizarre, the president presented a six day old map from the National Hurricane Center showing the forecasted path of Hurricane Dorian with a little alteration.
The map had been doctored with a sharpie to try and convince everyone that the hurricane was going to hit some parts of Alabama. This was probably the last kick of a dying horse and ever since, the President still insists that he was right.
This debacle started off when the National Hurricane Center released the projected Hurricane Dorian trajectory. At the time, the hurricane was predicted to make landfall in Florida and some parts of Georgia and North Carolina.
The map was used in early briefings in the Oval Office and it didn’t indicate Alabama was going to be affected. The map released by the NHC was the most accurate since it was based on real-time data coming in with regards to Dorian’s path. The funny thing is that out of all the maps Trump used to defend his false claim none had been issued by the NHC.
However, hurricane forecasts are unpredictable and can change very quickly. This is why the NHC issued another update after its initial forecast saying that the trajectory of Dorian had shifted dramatically. The new update showed that the storm will make landfall in Florida, but it had steered north from its initial trajectory, taking it even further away from Alabama than earlier projected.
Immediately after the NHC issued this latest update, the president didn’t seem convinced. He even went further to double down on his earlier claim, saying on Twitter that Alabama, the Carolinas, and Florida would be “hard hit” by the hurricane. This was simply not true.
Some reports were also indicating that the White House was piling pressure on weather officials to back the president’s claims even though they weren’t founded on any concrete data.
After days of trying to force everyone to see his own reality, Trump finally came to his senses. In his latest tweet about the storm, he didn’t mention Alabama but many analysts think that the damage has already been done.