Seth Meyers takes a closer look at the growing scandal of President Trump doctoring a map of Hurricane Dorian with a Sharpie.
According to Vox: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly threatened to fire some of the nation’s weather officials if they refused to lie to the public about the projected path of Hurricane Dorian. New reporting indicates he made these threats under pressure from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and President Trump himself.
Ross wanted top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency under his purview, to claim scientists at the agency’s Birmingham, Alabama, National Weather Service branch were mistaken when they corrected a tweet President Donald Trump sent ahead of Dorian’s arrival that said the storm would “most likely” affect Alabama.
That correction bothered Trump for days, and eventually he told top aides that NOAA needed to retract the tweet. That request, and the president’s continual complaints about the matter, led Mulvaney to ask Ross to have NOAA officials publicly back the president’s tweet, White House officials told the Washington Post.
As d Dorian hit the Bahamas, Trump presented a weather map during a hurricane update that had been altered with a marker to show Dorian threatening Alabama.
Although that episode, dubbed Sharpiegate, did include some casual lawbreaking (issuing a false or altered official weather forecast is illegal and can be punished by a fine or three months in prison), it was largely used to drive broadcasts on cable news and as a front for memes, including some shared by the president himself.
Ross’s threat, however, transforms the affair into something more serious. The commerce secretary denies making those threats, and Trump and Mulvaney have denied pressuring the secretary to act at all. But if Ross did issue a threat, as three people told the New York Times, it turns Sharpiegate into a warning that contradicting Trump, even in the interest of safety, can lead to the end of one’s livelihood (if not career), and that the man in charge of the 2020 census is not above ordering the manipulation of facts in order to please the president.
Watch the segment below.