“Sharpiegate” was the first moment of fun Donald Trump has given us in a while, so, of course it turns out it’s actually a much more sinister situation. If you missed it the first time around, the president tweeted that Hurricane Dorian would be hitting as far as Alabama in the U.S. While the storm did devastate the Bahamas and hit the southern east coast, scientists adamantly insisted Alabama was not in the path of the storm.
In fact, the Alabama branch of the National Weather Service (part of NOAA) even tweeted a repudiation of Trump’s claims, fearing citizens would panic after receiving a warning from the president.
Trump responded as any demented grandpa would by drawing on a map of the oncoming storm with a Sharpie, extending the symbolic image of Dorian so that it touched the corner of Alabama. The whole thing was kinda funny if it weren’t so dangerous. Trump even tweeted a weird animated gif of a cat and himself with the altered map, for some reason. Does he have a sense of humor or did he not see the cat?
It’s now being reported by the New York Times that the US secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross, is being called on to resign after he allegedly called NOAA and threatened to fire senior staff unless they went along with the president’s insistence that Alabama was in grave imminent danger from Hurricane Dorian. Jesus Christ.
So to recap, Wilbur Ross:— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) September 9, 2019
-Falsely told Congress that census citizenship question originated with DOJ, and not him.
-Was behind the administration's embarrassing SCOTUS loss in that case.
-Now was reportedly strong-arming NOAA on Trump's behalf.
And NOAA complied, which many people didn’t notice because they were too busy tweeting about #Sharpiegate. They issue a wild, unsigned statement of support, condemning their Birmingham office:
“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. This is clearly demonstrated in Hurricane Advisories #15 through #41, which can be viewed at the following link.
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.”
Since these threatening phone calls have come to light, several Democrats have called on Ross to step down and the situation is being investigated by the Office of Inspector General. NOAA’s acting chief scientist, Craig McLean, has also launched an investigation to determine why his agency disavowed their own work to support Trump. The director of the National Weather Service, Louis Uccellini, defended Birmingham’s initial tweet at a meeting of the National Weather Association. saying they weren’t trying to embarrass Trump.
“They did that with one thing in mind: public safety,” said Uccellini. Damn, don’t tell Trump that. The only thing he cares about less than public safety is the truth!