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Trump's Hurricane Updates Cause a Ruckus

President accused of inaccuracies, but he lashes back at critics
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2019 9:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump was up early tweeting (or retweeting) about the path of Hurricane Dorian on Tuesday, and those following his feed over the holiday weekend will be surprised. The New York Times counts 122 Trump tweets starting Saturday morning, with many revolving around the hurricane bearing down on the East Coast. So much so that the newspaper christened Trump "meteorologist in chief." But some of his hurricane tweets—and his comments during news conferences—were more controversial than others. Details:

  • Alabama: This tweet in particular Sunday morning caused quite a fuss. The president asserted that Alabama was among the states expected to get hit by the hurricane, which prompted meteorologists to correct him, per CNN. From the National Weather Service in Alabama came this: "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama."
  • Doubling down: In addition to the tweet, Trump told reporters Sunday that the hurricane "may get a little piece" of Alabama, notes Axios. After ABC News in particular reported on this, Trump fired back: "I suggested yesterday at FEMA that, along with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, even Alabama could possibly come into play, which WAS true," he wrote. "They made a big deal about this when in fact, under certain original scenarios, it was in fact correct that Alabama could have received some 'hurt.' ... Bad people!" But media writer Brian Stelter at CNN notes that Trump on Sunday didn't seem to be talking about original forecasts—he said the news about Alabama "just came up."

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  • His pulpit: Aides say Trump is performing a vital function by using his platform to directly warn people about the hurricane. The tweets show him to be "an accessible, transparent and interested president" is their characterization, per the Times.
  • Category 5: Another Sunday statement that raised eyebrows: “I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard of a Category 5," said Trump, reports the Washington Post. "I knew it existed. And I’ve seen some Category 4s. You don’t even see them that much. But a Category 5 is something that, uh, I don’t know that I’ve never even heard the term, other than I know it’s there. That’s the ultimate."
  • But: This isn't the first Category 5 hurricane during Trump's tenure, including Hurricane Michael, which hit last year in Florida. At the time, Trump similarly said he'd never heard of a Category 5 storm. In fact, the Post has examples of Trump saying that five times since 2017.
  • A nemesis: There's no love lost between Trump and London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, and the mayor got in a Dorian-related shot over the weekend. "He’s clearly busy dealing with a hurricane out on the golf course," Khan told Politico. Khan was in Poland for a WWII commemoration ceremony, which Trump pulled out of because of the hurricane. (The Times feature on Trump notes that the president called for regular Dorian updates from a trailing aide while golfing this weekend in Virginia.)

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