Trump holds up altered Dorian map, doubles down on Alabama comments
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump held up an altered map of Hurricane Dorian’s forecasted path on Wednesday to argue the massive storm had been headed toward Gulf states – a response to recent criticism that he misstated the storm’s direction.
Speaking to reporters at the White House Wednesday about the impact of Hurricane Dorian, President Donald Trump held up what he described as an initial forecast from the National Hurricane Center that showed Dorian moving into the Gulf states,
The map comes from the center’s website, which has been tracking Dorian’s progress. But the map Trump held up was an edited version, with a black semi-circle around a portion of the state of Alabama that had been added.
In the original chart with Florida directly in Dorian’s path, Trump said the hurricane “would have affected a lot of other states.”
“It was going to hit not only Florida but Georgia and could’ve—was going toward the Gulf. That was what was originally projected,” he continued.
Trump’s remarks in the Oval Office came after he faced blowback for suggesting in a tweet on Sunday that Alabama residents should prepare for the storm. At that point, forecasters had already predicted that the storm would turn sharply north.
The Birmingham, Ala., National Weather Service branch appeared to correct him on Twitter later that day, saying “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”
The NHC’s original map is from an Aug. 29 projection that included Florida and parts of Georgia in its path, but did not extend into Alabama.
And, as of the morning of his Sept. 1 tweet, the NHC map showed Dorian moving up the East Coast but also did not include any part of Alabama.
More: National Weather Service appears to correct Trump on Hurricane Dorian hitting Alabama
Trump was asked about the altered map later at the White House Wednesday.
“I know that Alabama was in the original forecast,” Trump said. “They thought they would get it… Alabama…was going to be hit very hard.”
Trump was asked whether someone had used a Sharpie – a favorite pen for the president – on the map to extend the forecast of high wind into Alabama.
“I don’t know,” Trump repeated three times.
Trump doubled down on the assertion yet again hours later, tweeting another map that showed several projected paths that put Hurricane Dorian into Gulf states. But that map, which appeared to be sourced to the South Florida Water Management District, was dated August 28 – days before Trump wrote that Alabama was in the storm’s path.