I watched this live and immediately took to Twitter to drink in the “you suck” and “get him off the air” tweets aimed at Smith by Trump fans. They did not disappoint.
This is an admirably thorough segment by Fox about that bizarre moment in the Oval Office yesterday when Trump pulled out a map of Dorian’s projected path towards the southern coast. For one thing, the map was badly outdated; Trump was showing off early projections of the hurricane striking Florida, not the recent projections of it creeping up the east coast, as you’d expect the president to do during a newsy photo op. The really bizarre part, though, was the black line that had been added to the map that appeared to show the cone of the hurricane extending into Alabama. What was that doing there?
It wasn’t added to the map because Trump had erroneously tweeted a few days ago that Dorian was expected to reach Alabama when that possibility had long since been ruled out at the time by forecasters, was it? He hates to be wrong, but does he hate it so much that he’d alter a map to mislead people into believing he was right?
Fox takes you through the whole sad saga, step by step. According to John Roberts’s sources, it wasn’t Trump who drew the line on the map. It was drawn by someone else during a briefing to show him the initial worst-case scenario about the storm’s path. That scenario had been ruled out by forecasters by the time he first tweeted about Alabama on September 1; White House aides think Alabama might have been on his mind because his earliest briefings on the storm impressed upon him how bad things could be *if* Dorian made it to the state. Days later, when he tweeted about Alabama, it was still on his mind even though the latest information had eliminated the chance of landfall there.
It would have been a one-hour story if he had deleted his original tweet and clarified that Alabama was now out of harm’s way. But you know Trump’s rule: Never admit error. And so, four days later, he’s still tweeting about this, determined to prove that he was right all along.
Again, as Fox explains, it’s not that Dorian was *never* projected to reach Alabama. It’s that, *by the time Trump tweeted on September 1*, that possibility had been eliminated. (All of the maps in his tweets are from August 28-30, days before he commented.) He made a simple mistake by relaying outdated info, although one that might have temporarily panicked Alabamians who thought they were out of harm’s way. All he had to do was walk it back. Instead he’s tweeting about this at a moment when Dorian actually has made landfall and is hammering the Carolinas. It’s his strangest and most pointless bit of vanity-driven gaslighting since the even more bizarre dispute over the size of his inauguration crowds during his first week as president.
The latest from the White House as I write this is a statement from a Homeland Security advisor claiming that he told Trump in a briefing on September 1 that tropical-storm-force winds could conceivably reach the southeastern tip of Alabama — and by “conceivably” I mean a 5-10% probability. If this doesn’t quiet the media chatter, presumably DHS chief Kevin McAleenan will be forced to say that he warned Trump Alabama could be obliterated five minutes before POTUS sent his tweet. Someone’s taking the fall for this and it’s not Trump.
You may be surprised to learn the President is not giving this up!! pic.twitter.com/MlYgBPknnv
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) September 5, 2019
I’m tempted to link this clip to that “Fox & Friends” one from earlier and turn it into a post about how maybe Trump’s right that Fox is out to get him, but nah. This is just Shep being Shep.