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'Sharpiegate': Trump insists Dorian was forecast to 'hit or graze' Alabama

James Comey among critics, saying ‘America deserves better’ after president defended altered map showing path reaching the state Unable to let a good fight with the media go to waste, Donald Trump insisted again on Thursday that his warning that Alabama could be hit by Hurricane Dorian was accurate.The federal National Weather Service (NWS) has said it was not.Dorian, meanwhile, moved back up to category 3 strength, threatening life-endangering storm surge and flooding in the Carolinas and prompting evacuations there and along the coast of Georgia. It had left at least 20 people dead in the Bahamas.Among critics of Trump’s behaviour one leading enemy-cum-nemesis, fired FBI director James Comey, wrote: “Americans are in harm’s way and the president is laser-focused on ... covering up a small mistake he made. Narcissism is not leadership. America deserves better.”Undeterred, the president tweeted his fury about his own side of the matter a day after he displayed a National Hurricane Center (NHC) map in the Oval Office which appeared to have been altered with a Sharpie, or marker pen, to show the storm’s predicted path reaching into the Yellowhammer state.Trump insisted later on Wednesday that his original briefings on Dorian showed a “95% chance probability” that Alabama would be hit. Asked if the chart showing a government weather forecast had been altered – which would be a crime under US law – he said: “I don’t know, I don’t know.”The incident prompted scorn and hilarity online, with some christening the scandal “Sharpiegate”.On Wednesday night, Trump demanded apologies from the media.On Thursday morning, typically unabashed, he tweeted: “In the early days of the hurricane, when it was predicted that Dorian would go through Miami or West Palm Beach, even before it reached the Bahamas, certain models strongly suggested that Alabama [and] Georgia would be hit as it made its way through Florida [and] to the Gulf.“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 [Federal Emergency Management Agency] statement. What I said was accurate! All Fake News in order to demean!”Later, he repeated his insistence that “Alabama was going to be hit or grazed” before the storm changed path, and claimed: “The Fake News knows this very well. That’s why they’re the Fake News!”Saying Alabama had been predicted to be “hit or grazed” was nonetheless a downgrade from Trump’s initial tweet about the state, which counted it among states likely to be “hit (much) harder than anticipated”.Trump also retweeted a map from last Wednesday which showed outer strands of the storm crossing the Georgia-Alabama line. The map was produced by the South Florida water management district and contained in its caption: “NHC Advisories and County Emergency Management Statements Supersede This Product.“This map should complement, not replace, NHC discussions. If anything on this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product.”The first warnings of Dorian’s potency began to spread across the media late last week. The NHC map showing the forecast path of the storm which Trump displayed in the Oval Office was published last Thursday. It can still be seen online. It does not show the hurricane reaching Alabama.Regardless, on Sunday, Trump tweeted: “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!”Shortly after that, the National Weather Service tweeted: “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.”


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Boris Johnson’s brother resigns from cabinet amid Brexit tension

Boris Johnson's brother resigns his cabinet post amid rising Brexit tensions.


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