Sep 4, 2019

Trump uses doctored map to back false claim about Hurricane Dorian

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday presented a doctored version of an official National Hurricane Center map of Hurricane Dorian's path that appeared to show Alabama in the eye of the storm.

Reality check: None of the original forecast maps featured the black loop that appeared on the map shown by Trump.

  • Presumably, the loop was drawn on the map to make it appear as though Trump's false claim that Alabama was in the storm's path was true. (The National Weather Service has since debunked the claim.)
  • In response, the White House provided a map it said Trump was shown on Sunday that displayed a large possible storm track that included a small piece of Alabama. It didn't say who produced the map.
  • Trump also tweeted a map showing many possible storm tracks, including over Alabama. But the map was dated Aug. 28, days before the storm approached the coast.

The big picture: This isn't the first time Trump has pulled something like this.

  • April 2019: Trump tweeted a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi that made her seem drunk with the caption "PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE."
  • January 2019: Gizmodo reported that photos posted to Trump's official Facebook page seemed altered to make himself look thinner and his hands longer. Trump faced insults about his hand size during the 2016 Republican primaries, which he adamantly refuted.
  • November 2018: Then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders shared an edited video on Twitter of a confrontation between CNN's Jim Acosta and a White House press official that made Acosta look aggressive. The video appeared to editorialize the incident to justify the removal of Acosta's press pass.

The bottom line: The media has been focused on preparing for deepfakes, but amateur fakes coming from the White House are already happening.

This story has been updated to include the Trump tweet and the White House response.

Go deeper

NOAA: 20% chance Alabama could have felt Dorian's winds

Trump gives an Oval Office briefing on the status of Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 4. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Hurricane Dorian’s outer most winds, blowing between 39 and 73 mph, had at most a 20% chance of reaching Alabama between Tuesday, August 27 and Monday, Sept. 2, NOAA said in an unsigned statement.

Why it matters: NOAA's statement confirms President Trump's weeklong insistence that he was correct about the storm threatening Alabama. The Birmingham office of the National Weather Service refuted the president's comments in a tweet on Sept. 1. NOAA, in their Friday statement, said the Birmingham office's tweet was “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Go deeperArrowSep 6, 2019

NYT: Wilbur Ross threatened NOAA firings after Trump hurricane contradiction

Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials following a tweet from the agency's Birmingham office that rebutted President Trump's claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama, the New York Times reports.

Context: Trump's incorrect tweet last week that Hurricane Dorian was projected to hit Alabama prompted NOAA's Birmingham office to tweet shortly after that "no impacts from Hurricane Dorian [would] be felt across Alabama." The rebuttal set off days of defensive tweets from Trump arguing that he was correct.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 9, 2019

Post-tropical cyclone Dorian weakens in North Atlantic after lashing Canada

Destruction in the Bahamas following the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Photo: Jose Jimenez/Getty Images

After devastating the Bahamas and pummeling North Carolina, Dorian lashed at far-eastern Canada with hurricane-force winds Sunday, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people before weakening and heading into the North Atlantic, AP reports.

The latest: The post-tropical cyclone was packing winds of 60 mph as it headed east-northeast, about 375 miles north of Cape Race, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 11 p.m.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 9, 2019