Despite previously claiming that Hurricane Irma would be “perhaps bigger than we have ever seen,” President Trump brazenly contradicted himself while visiting Florida on Thursday. Clumsily dodging a question about whether both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have altered his perception of climate change, Trump told reporters that America has seen “bigger storms.”
“We did have two horrific storms, epic storms,” he told reporters. “But if you go back into the ‘30s and ‘40s, and you go back into the teens, you’ll see storms that were very similar and even bigger, okay?”
While the U.S has certainly seen its fair share of catastrophic, record-shattering storms, Trump’s first assessment was surprisingly accurate. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma did break records, just like Katrina, Sandy, Wilma, and so on. Irma, as noted by The Daily Beast, tied a 1935 mega storm’s record for strongest maximum winds at 185 mph. But its sustained strength beat the number one storm, Allen, which only sustained 180 mph winds for 18 hours. Irma’s lasted for 37 hours, making it the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
Harvey, too, brought “once in a century” flooding to Texas for the second year in a row. The storm also broke continental U.S. flooding records and coupled with Irma, both storms set yet another record: for the first time in history two Category 4 hurricanes have hit the U.S. in one year.
It’s almost as if there’s a trend here. Meanwhile, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency chief, noted climate change denier Scott Pruitt, told CNN right before Irma was expected to make landfall that talking about climate change was insensitive to those “facing the effect of the storm.”
Actually, insensitive is traveling to a state ravaged by a hurricane for a photo op, bragging about the size of your hands, and downplaying the damage by concluding there have been “bigger storms” to hit America.