Donald Trump campaign sells markers as NOAA bolsters Alabama claim

Donald Trump campaign sells markers as NOAA bolsters Alabama claim

WASHINGTON — Both the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump and the presidential campaign of former Rep. Joe Walsh, one of Trump’s GOP primary challengers, are fundraising off the controversy surrounding an altered map of Hurricane Dorian’s path that Trump displayed in the Oval Office Wednesday.

As Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas and threatened parts of the United States, Trump has held firm on his Sept. 1 claim that the storm would threaten Alabama, despite being contradicted by the National Weather Service on Sunday soon after his original tweet.

After a week of Trump seeking to bolster his original assertion regarding Alabama, including the release Thursday of a statement by a homeland security adviser, “#SharpieGate” took another turn Friday when NOAA released a statement disavowing Sunday’s statement by a local station of the National Weather Service.

More: White House aide says he briefed Trump about Alabama and Hurricane Dorian

“From Wednesday, August 28, through Monday, September 2, the information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to President Trump and the wider public demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrote in a statement Friday, that also pointed to a number of its advisories during that period. 

“The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time,” NOAA also said in the statement.

Even before the agency’s effort to substantiate Trump’s claim, the president’s campaign saw the value in keeping the controversy alive.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale announced on Twitter earlier Friday that the campaign was offering “the official Trump marker.”

“Buy the official Trump marker, which is different than every other marker on the market, because this one has the special ability to drive @CNN  and the rest of the fake news crazy! #KeepMarkersGreat,” Parscale tweeted.

The markers are seemingly an effort by the Trump campaign to both capitalize on and simultaneously make light of what could have been a relatively minor controversy if not for the president doubling down on his remarks multiple times this week. 

A pack of five markers is $15, and the markers are emblazoned with the president’s “signature in gold” according to the campaign’s website.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who is challenging Trump for the GOP nomination, is also selling markers on his campaign’s website where they are offered as part of making a contribution of $25 or more

“Sometimes the president needs to be reminded…so we used his favorite writing tool: a Sharpie!” his website reads. The Walsh sharpie is emblazoned with “DON’T LIE”

“Since the guy in the White House is a pathological liar, we customized his favorite marker to give him some advice: “DON’T LIE.” Walsh tweeted Friday.

Walsh, a onetime syndicated conservative talk show host said in August that he’s running a primary challenge against the president because Trump is “unfit” and “somebody needs to step up.”

Walsh, who was backed by the Tea Party during his time in Congress, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in which he said a Republican should challenge Trump “from the right.” He also said Trump “can’t be trusted.” 

“The fact is, Mr. Trump is a racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base and advance his electoral prospects,” Walsh wrote.

Trump hit back at Walsh late last month soon after Walsh announced his primary challenge, calling Walsh, among other things, “a one-time BAD Congressman from Illinois.”

The hashtag “#SharpieGate” trended on Twitter as users posted their own Sharpie illustrations after the president presented the altered hurricane forecast map on Wednesday.

Contributed: Courtney Subramanian.

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