Sharpie President? Alabama National Guard Mobilized for Hurricane Dorian
On Thursday, Twitter lit up with the hashtag #SharpiePresident, as people mocked President Donald Trump for drawing a circle around the path for Hurricane Dorian, showing the hurricane threatening the Great State of Alabama. The memes are hilarious, but the hurricane really did threaten Alabama, as Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown said in a letter defending the president. In fact, the Alabama National Guard mobilized for the hurricane days before Trump's infamous Sharpie snafu.
On Wednesday, Trump shared the original projections, to which someone added a circle in Sharpie to emphasize the threat to Alabama. Note: in the video, Trump does not claim that Dorian was still headed toward Alabama, only that the original projections suggested it would be.
The president told The New York Times he did not know who added the Sharpie circle to the map. Liberals rushed to mock the president on Twitter, however, sharing memes about "President Sharpie."
Liberal commentators had a field day, with Stephen Colbert joking that Trump would be going to "weather jail." Democratic members of Congress also attacked the president over the image, claiming he had committed an illegal act by doctoring the map.
CNN's Jim Acosta attacked a Trump tweet from September 1, claiming that by that point the threat to Alabama had passed.
CNN's senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson, accused the president of "making up a fake hurricane," and then caught herself, adding, "the fake trajectory of a hurricane."
Yet Trump tweeted maps showing that the hurricane was projected to hit Alabama.
Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, Trump's homeland security and counterterrorism advisor, released a statement explaining the president's position.
"As the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, I briefed President Donald J. Trump multiple times concerning the position, forecast, risks, and Federal Government preparations for and response to Hurricane Dorian," Brown wrote. He noted that Trump's comments on September 1 "were based on that morning's Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama. In fact, from the evening of Tuesday, August 27 until the morning of September 2, forecasts from the National Hurricane Center showed the possibility of tropical storm force winds hitting parts of Alabama."
Yet perhaps the most important piece of evidence came from the Alabama National Guard itself. The state's National Guard started mobilizing for Hurricane Dorian because the storm was projected to hit their state.
"[Hurricane Dorian] is projected to reach southern Alabama by the early part of the week. We are watching closely and [ready] to act. Are you?" the Alabama National Guard tweeted.
If the Alabama National Guard was mobilizing for Hurricane Dorian, Trump was right to say that the original projections suggested Alabama would face the fallout. "Sharpie President" is an overblown story.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.