With Hurricane Dorian sweeping up the Eastern seaboard, President Donald Trump gave a brief update on the storm’s progress on Wednesday, in which he hauled out a nearly week-old graphic in an effort to justify his initial—totally incorrect—claim that Dorian was headed straight for Alabama.
However, as eagle eyed Twitter user Taylor Bassett and many others quickly pointed out, Trump’s graphic seems to have been...altered slightly.
Here’s what Trump held up in the Oval Office. Notice the date and time printed in the lower lefthand side of the chart. It’s blurry but you can see that it says “August 29, 2019, 11 AM.” Note also the strange black circle moving into Alabama.
And here’s the National Hurricane Center’s original chart from August 29, at 11 a.m. No circle!:
Complicating things slightly is the fact that the chart Trump held up seems, in fact, to be a match for NCH’s August 29 chart at 5 a.m, not 11. But that chart doesn’t have a black circle either:
In any case. Let’s put the two charts side by side, shall we?
Did some White House staffer just...take a black sharpie to the original chart and draw an extra circle to encompass Alabama? It sure looks like it.
I’ve reached out to the White House for an explanation on where the chart Trump used at today’s briefing came from, and whether it was altered in any way. I’ll update this story if they respond.
In the meantime, as weather writer Dennis Mersereau pointed out, falsifying National Weather Service forecasts can be a federal crime. Whoops!
Update, 3:10 p.m. ET: After being asked about the dubious map, Trump feigned ignorance as to how on Earth that extra circle got there.