In spite of the fact that four Category 5 hurricanes have occurred within the past two and a half years of his presidency, Donald Trump on Sunday suggested that he’s not heard of that strength of storm ever developing in the Atlantic before.
Trump made the comments in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 5 storm, making impending landfall on the continental United States, The Guardian reported.
“All we know is that it’s possibly the biggest,” Trump told reporters. “I’m not sure I’ve even heard of a Category 5, I knew it existed. And I’ve seen some Category 4s. I don’t even think I’ve heard the term other than I know it it’s there and it’s the ultimate and that’s what we have unfortunately.”
If Trump had been kept abreast of storms in the past, then he should be aware that such storms have come about before. In 2017, two Category 5 storms, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, were in the Atlantic basin, per Weather.com. In 2018, Hurricane Michael reached Category 5 status, and this past week Dorian did as well.
2019 is the fourth year in a row that at least one Category 5 storm has been recorded within a calendar year, which is a record for consecutive years that such storms have occurred.
Trump’s tone on the current threat from Dorian has changed considerably over the past few days. When it appeared that the storm was set to hit the island U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, Trump, who has faced immense criticism for his response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation to the island in 2017, took a demeaning tone toward leaders there.
In a series of tweets, the president claimed he was “the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico, and launched into attacks against the island, accusing it of misusing relief funds, which were “squandered,” Trump said. Many of the claims he made against Puerto Rico were rife with misinformation and outright lies.
As the storm shifted toward the mainland U.S. (particularly toward states that voted for him in the 2016 presidential election), Trump’s tone similarly shifted in a different, more alarming direction. In a series of tweets, such as this one, Trump urged citizens to seek shelter or pay close attention to the storm’s developments, making no similar criticisms toward those states that he did toward Puerto Rico.