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Sources Say The White House Pressured NOAA To Issue Defense Of Trump

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was pressured by the White House to issue a statement backing up the president after he had made errant statements regarding the storm path of Hurricane Dorian.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to several government sources that spoke with the New York Times, Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff to President Donald Trump, told Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross to pressure NOAA (which Commerce oversees) to support the president’s previous statements.

Ross in turned warned the head of the agency that several top-level employees could risk being terminated if a statement in favor of the president’s assertions wasn’t made. Such a statement was eventually given, which many in the scientific and meteorological communities decried as being anti-science and political in nature.

Ross has denied that he threatened to fire people. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is opening an inquiry into the matter.

The situation dates all the way back to Sunday, September 1, when Trump wrote in tweets that several states were in the storm’s immediate path, including Alabama. The National Weather Service’s Birmingham, Alabama, office issued out a tweet of its own, contradicting the president’s statements.

That led to a weeklong soap opera of Trump continuing to insist that he was right, even though he frequently touted old, outdated maps or altered ones in order to support his argument.

Trump’s statements on Hurricane Dorian were concerning to many long before this episode. He previously suggested that Dorian was unique, and that he had never seen a category 5 hurricane previous to it. Per prior reporting from HillReporter.com, Trump had indeed seen four category 5 storms since he entered the presidency.



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