On Wednesday, weather reporters and other experts noticed that it looked like someone had drawn an extra little bubble onto a map of the path of a storm in a video of Trump talking about it. People started to wonder whether Trump or someone else had used a Sharpie pen — which the president is known to use — to doctor the map so it looked like he had been right. #SharpieGate was born.
The black outlined area on this very outdated @NHC_Atlantic #Dorian graphic that Trump just used in his update was added and not a part of the official forecast. @WhiteHouse pic.twitter.com/XMQmepPyj6
After the online mockery commenced, the late-night hosts got to work. It is difficult to fault them for doing their jobs, especially since so much truth is found in comedy. “Erratic, slow, powerful and destructive. It’s like looking in a mirror,” Stephen Colbert said, imitating Trump while also noting that his Sharpie stunt was actually a federal crime. “He really must think we’re a bunch of idiots,” Jimmy Kimmel remarked. “I bet he thinks, ‘Hey, they let me be president. Let’s see what other dumb crap they’ll go for.’” Trevor Noah asked a more existential question: “Did he draw with a Sharpie? What is life right now?”
We still dont know who doctored the map, or if it was, indeed, doctored. But who cares? We all could have moved on. But, again, we did not. Instead, the president kept insisting he was right on Alabama and agitators kept egging him on. The media covered news about the border wall funding, Pences visit to a Trump property, and other big stories this week, but it also kept returning to the Alabama issue — it was one of the main stories CNN covered all of Thursday.
Video: Hurricane Dorian seen from International Space Station
The ordeal, in part, highlights the presidents penchant for lying and his refusal to let even the most trivial items go. But it is also emblematic of the way hes covered by the media and how outlets such as CNN lean into their antagonism of the White House. The back and forth went as far as the outlets communications Twitter account responding to White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grishams tweet noting theyd screwed up an onscreen map that labeled Alabama as Mississippi.
Video: Water in Currituck Sound whipped up by Hurricane Dorian
Thanks, Stephanie. Yes, we made a mistake (which we fixed in less than 30 seconds). And now we are admitting it. You all should try it sometime.
As Politico explains, the National Hurricane Center never offered up a concrete prediction that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama, but it gave it small odds of getting tropical storm winds. And computer models suggested it might wind up in the Gulf of Mexico, which would affect Alabama.
But at this point, getting into the timeline of the different predictions does not matter. The hurricane didnt go to Alabama and the people there are safe! Its probably been a really confusing week.
The Hills 12:30 Report: Trump digs in on Hurricane Dorian projection | TheHill
The president does not like being wrong, so hes spent a lot of the week insisting that hes right about Hurricane Dorian and Alabama.
I understand Republicans don’t seem to give much of a damn about governance. Well, at least they oppose heavy regulations on business or want laissez-faire approaches to everything government does that doesn’t relate to civil rights for anyone who is marginalized in America. However, this has become a party that doesn’t care whether or not people die. Because that’s what it is when they sit idly by as their president whines and wails like a colicky child for a week, not only tweeting madly but inducing his White House to lie for him about Alabama supposedly being in danger when it never was.
Hes fired off multiple tweets about the matter, and at an event Wednesday about opioid grants, when asked about it by a reporter he said he was confident Alabama had been in the original forecast. Alabama was hit — if not lightly, in some cases pretty hard, he said. Georgia, Alabama, it was a different route. They actually gave that a 95 percent change probability.
….Instead it turned North and went up the coast, where it continues now. In the one model through Florida, the Great State of Alabama would have been hit or grazed. In the path it took, no. Read my FULL FEMA statement. What I said was accurate! All Fake News in order to demean!
On Thursday, the White House went as far as to release a statement from Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, Trumps homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, saying Alabama had been in the path of the storm.
Video: Hurricane Dorian kills at least five people in US after devastating the Bahamas
Trump claims media is fixated on Hurricane Dorian map trajectory, demands an apology
Trumps insistence that he was right — and SharpieGate — should have been a 5-minute story. But it wasnt. CNN and other media outlets kept it going. They know Trump is watching, and they like an interactive Trump feud.
CNN has covered the storm, including the damage its done in the Bahamas and is now doing in US states that arent Alabama, but its also spent a lot of airtime on Trumps weird lie. As mentioned, its Twitter account even offered up a snarky response to the White House press secretary on Twitter.
.@ChrisCuomo: “Were living in strange times. Weve got a hurricane … and the President is fighting with the media…”About a dozen times since Sunday, the President has insisted he was right about Dorian heading toward Alabama. “It isnt and never was in any real way.” pic.twitter.com/fXbsS8ItoE
“Unlike the lies about his crowd size or his hand size, this is a lie that has consequences for people in their day-to-day lives so its really shocking,” says former NOAA General Counsel Monica Medina on Pres. Trumps erroneous insistence that Dorian was headed toward Alabama. pic.twitter.com/fmMkOXGEPc
Mr. President, youre going to weather jail: Trump roasted for altered Dorian map
CNN and other broadcasters, including MSNBC and Fox News, are part of what helped Trumps political career take off in the first place. They showed his rallies for hours and let him play by rules no other candidates did.
The Fox News host then listed off multiple examples of the “endless” fake news the president has promoted: “China pays the tariffs. The wall is going up. Historic inauguration crowds. Russia probe is a witch hunt. You need an ID to buy cereal. Noise from windmills causes cancers.”
But perhaps more than any other media outlet, CNN has really cultivated a brand of antagonism toward Trump. The outlet knows hes watching, and they know hell often play along.
President Trump altered map showing Hurricane Dorians path with black Sharpie, White House official says
Journalist Jim Acosta has repeatedly publicly clashed with the White House and officials at press conferences while asking difficult questions. At one point, his White House press pass was revoked after a confrontation with the president at a news conference. Trump regularly tweets complaints that CNN and other outlets are fake news and reacts to stories in real time (or when its on his TiVo). He knows Acosta and other on-air personalities, including Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, by name.
CNNs executives have not been shy about their feuds with Trump being good for business. In 2017, CNN International chief Tony Maddox said the outlets performance has been enhanced during this news period and how weve chosen to cover it.
I think being called out for fake news by Trump isnt necessarily the end of the world, in fact the evidence would suggest, as far as media organizations are concerned, its not something to worry about, he said.
On Thursday, Lemon defended the networks coverage of SharpieGate and the Alabama hurricane controversy and acknowledged that the presidents apologists say its petty. This is the president of the United States and if you cant trust whats coming out of the president of the United States mouth, then where are we? Who are we, especially as journalists? he said.
Its true that its bad that the president is lying, and its odd that he keeps insisting on the lie. But the president lies a lot and does plenty of bad things we could focus on that are not this. Instead of talking about, for instance, the fact that the vice president is wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars to stay at a Trump-owned property in Ireland, were still talking about Trump and Alabama. And as long as Trump keeps seeing coverage of it on television, he appears determined to keep tweeting about it. On Friday, he demanded the media apologize for its coverage of the ordeal on Twitter.
….This nonsense has never happened to another President. Four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology. But there are many things that the Fake News Media has not apologized to me for, like the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate! The LameStream Media and their Democrat…..
Between Trumps insistence on it and the medias coverage of it, SharpieGate has been absurd. But at least it has delivered some good memes and tweets.
WaPo: We Found Out Who Illegally Sharpied Trumps Hurricane Map
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the very best of #Sharpiegate !! This sh*t had me wheezing! pic.twitter.com/IYsZU39aOQ
Trump released a poll this morning showing him winning by wide margins against any Democratic opponent. #sharpiegate #SharpiePresident pic.twitter.com/ZIWISAtzl8
President Donald Trump talks with reporters after receiving a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) AP
A White House official says it was President Donald Trump himself who used the black Sharpie to doctor an official government map, which he then displayed during an Oval Office briefing, to falsely add Alabama into Hurricane Dorians potential pathway.
This was far from the first time Trump has refused to admit a mistake. Examples range from the harmless, like his assertion that he had the largest inauguration crowd in history, to the more serious, like his claim of widespread voter fraud in 2016 that led to the establishment of an election commission to try and back up his claim.
No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie, the White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, told The Washington Post.
“Great presidents admit when theyve screwed up, they fix it, and they move on,” said presidential historian Jon Meacham. “Right now, it is a mistake about a hurricane hitting a state. But it can also be a far bigger deal and cost people lives and help create a climate where people cant trust the government.”
Earther In a Dangerous Move, NOAA Debases Itself in the Name of Trumps Bad Tweet
It was a botched attempt at saving face after the president mistakenly claimed over the weekend that the state was at risk long after it was in the clear. Rather than own the small mistake and move on – we all make mistakes – Trump has turned this into a five-day story. Hes tweeted nine times and posted five maps about the subject. Last night, he even directed the National Security Council to release a 225-word statement from a rear admiral defending him.
The Sharpie has long been one of Trumps blunt instruments of choice, but this week its become a symbol just as potent as the MAGA hat. Its louder, bolder and less delicate than the classier and more conventionally elegant pens that have historically occupied the White House. Just like Trump.
NOAA disavows National Weather Service tweet that refuted Trumps claim Dorian was headed toward Alabama
His Sharpie squiggles on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map are worth more than 1,000 words. Trump seems unable to admit mistakes, no matter how trivial, because he appears to see such concessions as a sign of weakness. He becomes easily distracted by detritus at the expense of tackling the existential challenges facing our country, from climate change to the national debt.
Donald Trump pen: Trump campaign starts selling pens after map controversy
I know its a minor episode, but I hope that doctored map makes its way into the Smithsonian someday. Like Washingtons uniform or Jeffersons desk, Trumps bogus map embodies the man, writes columnist Eugene Robinson. As smooth moves go, it was lamer than trying to forge a $100 bill by taking a Monopoly $1 bill and writing a couple of extra zeros on it.
Was Trump really wrong about Hurricane Dorians threat to Alabama?
Forcing senior aides to contort themselves in defense of his false statements is a feature, not a bug, of the Trump administration. This dates to Sean Spicers monologue on crowd sizes after the inauguration, which set the tone for everything thats followed. Aides have tried to substantiate Trumps specious claims that he was wiretapped, that millions of votes were illegally cast by undocumented immigrants and that Middle Easterners had joined the caravans approaching the southern border. He said that right before the midterm elections during the same speeches in which he claimed that a plan was in the works to cut middle-class taxes by 10 percent. It hadnt been, but then staff scrambled to make it seem like an idea that was actually under consideration. The list goes on and on.
Trump Wants An Apology For Nonsense Reporting On His Alabama Hurricane Fixation
Even when Trump mistakenly tweeted the nonsensical word covfefe late one night, the president, instead of owning up to a typo or errant message, later sent Spicer to declare, I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant, recalls the APs Jonathan Lemire.
As Trump put it in 2016, I think apologizings a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if Im ever wrong.
Trump tweets video of CNN saying Alabama was in the way of Hurricane Dorian | TheHill
Trump has a notorious history of struggling to let certain things go once he becomes fixated on them. In April 1988, Spy magazine mockingly referred to Trump as a short-fingered vulgarian in a satirical advertisement for The Art of the Deal, which was on the bestseller list at the time. The co-founder of that magazine was Graydon Carter, who would go on to lead Vanity Fair for a quarter of a century. In October 2015, Carter said that the insult still got under Trumps skin. To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump, he wrote. There is always a photo of him – generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers. I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.
Thursday afternoon, Trump beckoned Fox News correspondent John Roberts to the Oval Office after a 3 p.m. live shot to make the case that he was correct about Dorian – because Alabama had been in the potential path early on – and to complain about anchor Shepard Smiths coverage on his show, according to internal Fox emails leaked to CNNs Jake Tapper.
A Fox News anchor ripped on Trumps hurricane map calling it fake news
Sharpies have played a starring role in several of the most memorable moments from this epoch. In his tell-all book, former West Wing communications aide Cliff Sims recounts in detail a private huddle in which he and Keith Schiller, the presidents longtime bodyguard and confidant, helped Trump draw up an enemies list with a Sharpie on White House stationery. Were going to get rid of all the snakes, even the bottom-feeders, Trump told the men, according to Simss account in Team of Vipers, released in January.
During a listening session after the massacre last year at a high school in Parkland, Florida, Trump held a note card in his hand with a basic reminder of emotional empathy. I hear you was written out in Sharpie.
When an outbreak of tornados killed 23 people in Alabama this March, Trump visited the state. He used his Sharpie to sign several Bibles at a Baptist church that had been converted into a relief center.
Two days before he became president, Trump tweeted a picture of himself holding a legal pad at Mar-a-Lago while looking earnestly into a camera. He wrote that it was an image of himself composing his inaugural address. He was upset at that time about stories on which aides were drafting the speech, and he wanted to insist that he wrote it himself. In that picture, Trump is holding a closed Sharpie. The pad looks brand new.
Trumps Dorian Tweets Continue to Baffle Late-Night Hosts
An auction house sold a doodle this spring that Trump once drew in gold Sharpie of the Manhattan skyline. In it, Trump Tower dominates neighboring skyscrapers. In real life, it doesnt. Trump has long claimed that the building he named after himself has 68 stories. In fact, it has 58.
The Sharpie is mightier: Trump mocked after that map of Dorians path
When Trump started using Twitter, he didnt post the tweets himself. Hed write them down in Sharpie on a piece of paper, and a 20-something staffer named Justin McConney would type them up. Eventually, Trump got an Android phone and started typing his own tweets one night in February 2013. The moment I found out Trump could tweet himself was comparable to the moment in Jurassic Park when Dr. Grant realized that velociraptors could open doors, McConney told Politico last year. I was like, Oh no.