Chris White on February 2, 2020
Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lashed out at their superiors after President Donald Trump allegedly used a marker on a weather map in 2019, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Scientists within NOAA were furious after the agency criticized its own weather forecasters for fact-checking the president’s suggestion that Hurricane Dorian was on course to hit Alabama, the report noted, citing emails obtained through an open records request.
They were responding to a Sept. 6, 2019 NOAA statement reading: “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 was responding to a Sept. 1 statement on Twitter from the National Weather Service’s Birmingham, Alabama, office in which the office suggested: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian.” It was responding to the president’s tweet suggesting the hurricane could strike Alabama.
One official said the statement shook him so much that he was close to quitting, according to the emails.
“I’m having a hard time not departing the pattern right now,” Tim Gallaudet, a retired Navy admiral who is a high-ranking official at NOAA, told John Murphy, the chief operating officer at the National Weather Service, in an email using aviation lingo for quitting.
Murphy replied: “Hang in there, sir.”
“Is this battle to die for or better to stay and fight for what’s right. It’s latter for me … we can do more in pattern,” Murphy said in an email response after suggesting the agency needed a solid pushback to prevent the White House from politicizing science.
Other officials followed suit.
“You are not going to believe this BULL,” Maureen O’Leary, a public affairs representative at NOAA, told a colleague, according to the emails. O’Leary then relayed public comments she found asking if the White House should vet future weather forecasts.
“What’s next? Climate science is a hoax?” Craig McLean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist, asked in an email to Neil Jacobs, then the acting director of NOAA. “Flabbergasted to leave our forecasters hanging in the political wind.”
Trump nominated Jacobs in December to lead the agency.
CNN and other major media outlets criticized Trump in September 2019 for supposedly using a marker on a map to alter Dorian’s trajectory, making it appear as though the hurricane was aiming for Alabama rather than moving up the East Coast.
The president doubled down on a tweet suggesting the storm would hit Alabama after many in the media tried to correct him. He showed a map of the path of the hurricane that appeared to have been altered with a marker.
Trump’s campaign team used the incident as a type of marketing ploy and is selling fine point markers to raise money for the president’s reelection bid. The campaign reportedly sold about $50,000 worth of fine point markers as of Sept. 13, effectively piggy-backing off of Trump’s actions.
NOAA did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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