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Trump, Dorian, and the corrosion of public institutions

As someone who can only be described as a weather geek, this has all been baffling to me. I felt compelled to post about it because weather is such a big deal to me, and I think I have good resources to tackle this.

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On the first of September, President Trump tweeted the [following](https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1168174613827899393?s=21):

> In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!

To be fair to the President, an aide could have easily shown him this [map](https://twitter.com/nhc_atlantic/status/1167452025673539584?s=21) which to the untrained eye could look like it’s supposed to hit AL. What the map actually shows is Alabama had a 5-10% chance of being hit with tropical storm force winds by Tuesday at 8AM. But that map was put out a whole two days before Trump tweeted saying Alabama would get hit. By September the first, the day Trump tweeted, [the spaghetti model* looked drastically different to what Trump claimed.](https://i.imgur.com/ZWvJVaR.jpg) This is an honest mistake, one that anyone could make. Especially someone who’s not all that knowledgeable in how hurricane predictions work. All it would have taken is a simple apology and correction and we could move on. But Trump didn’t do either of those things.

*If you need an explanation into how spaghetti models work, [here is the Weather Channel’s explanation.](https://weather.com/science/weather-explainers/news/spaghetti-models-tropics-tropical-storm-hurricane) If not, read on.

Due to confusion produced, National Weather Service Birmingham [tweeted](https://twitter.com/nwsbirmingham/status/1168179647667814400?s=21):

> Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east. #alwx

Remember this tweet, it’ll be important later.

This could have been the end of it, but Trump, getting continuous criticism from reporters and meteorologists alike, [kept](https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1168664114677407745?s=21) on [tweeting.](https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1169375550806351872?s=21) He [tweeted](https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1169578155096584192?s=21) and [tweeted](https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1169606058148605953?s=21) and [tweeted](https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1169705282123046913?s=21). He’s still tweeting, [tweeting this 18 hours ago.](https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1170089069105340416?s=21)

But his tweets aren’t the important part of the story. He held a meeting with the press from his office on the fourth, in which he showed an NWS forecast and intensity map [seen here, with a sharpie marked on the map extending it past FL into AL.](https://i.imgur.com/STmdPgA.jpg) Yes, he (or one of his aides) drew on the map to prove his point. Some say this is illegally doctoring a weather forecasting map, and that Trump should be prosecuted for this. I really don’t think that holds any weight, as it was not being used for forecasting as the law states it must. This is a silly controversy, but something happened yesterday. Here comes, in my opinion, the most important issue of this story.

Yesterday, [NOAA issued a statement basically backing Trump up, saying he was right, and throwing their own Alabama office under the bus.](https://i.imgur.com/kkUJA6c.jpg) This thread by meteorologists Ryan Maue [delves into why NWS Birmingham was in the right here.](https://twitter.com/ryanmaue/status/1170087457444061186?s=21) This is Alabama meteorologist James Spann [agreeing with him.](https://twitter.com/spann/status/1170089361834237955?s=21)

Meteorologists all over began to come to the defense of NWS Birmingham. [Tweet](https://twitter.com/rcpmwx/status/1170136378753073152?s=21) after (https://twitter.com/wxliz/status/1170104555843063808?s=21) fighting NOAA’s statement. Even the President of the NWS Union came to the defense of his Alabama office, [tweeting:](https://twitter.com/pres_nwseo/status/1170115531388719105?s=21)

> Let me assure you the hard working employees of the NWS had nothing to do with the utterly disgusting and disingenuous tweet sent out by NOAA management tonight #NOAA

Because the gaslighting is strong, even affecting me as I write this, here’s an apt tweet and resource showing [every forecast for Dorian. ](https://twitter.com/splillo/status/1170120864853086208?s=21) Why is this all so important to me? It shows the corrosion of public institutions under Trump. Greg Sargent wrote a good piece on the, by his count, seven examples of government officials have backed Trump to cover him for his lies. [Read that here.](https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/05/not-just-sharpie-gate-other-times-officials-tried-fabricate-trumps-truth/) The lasting affects of Trump’s presidency will be this exact corrosion, leading a public distrust towards government institutions. It should be remembered, in all this, Trump’s efforts to [privatize the weather industry.](https://www.fairobserver.com/region/north_america/donald-trump-barry-lee-myers-accuweather-noaa-us-politics-news-35845/amp/) It’s not just Trump, either. [Congress has thought about doing the same thing.](https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/06/09/congress-is-considering-privatizing-key-roles-of-the-weather-service-thats-a-mistake/)

This silly controversy has turned into yet another example of Trump’s corrosion of public institutions. Beyond his narcissism, nepotism, he is doing lasting damage to our government. I want to end with [this video by Hank Green](https://youtu.be/7-dzk6yMCPA) giving a small summary of the controversy. It is pre-noaa, but it goes in further on how Trump uses his abnormalities to push his own narrative.

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10 thoughts on “Trump, Dorian, and the corrosion of public institutions

  1. Government officials all over the country should honestly be pissed over how Trump treats them as a collective. But the way they bend over and take it is embarrassing.

    Anyone that looks at this and supports it simply does not care about the job they were hired to do.

  2. It feels as though this corrosion of public institutions is ultimately going to be the US’ downfall, leading to a Putin-esque dictatorial oligarchy and totalitarian state, or maybe some sort of civil war or French Revolution scenario.

    It’s a dark path to go down, and not an irreversible one, but it’s dangerous and, if followed to its end, has no good outcome.

  3. Exactly what Russia wanted. The corrosion of public institutions. Dividing the populace and leaning us to an untrustworthy stance of our basic institutions. We’ve already lost , people. Putin has a hard on for all of this.

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