President Donald Trump was the person who used a black marker to alter a map of Hurricane Dorian’s projected path, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
In a story by Toluse Olorunnipa and Josh Dawsey, the Post cited “a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.”
Trump displayed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map during an Oval Office briefing on Wednesday. The forecast cone appeared to be extended with a marker to include Alabama, which Trump previously had claimed was in danger of being hit by the hurricane.
“No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie,” the White House official told the Post.
Trump on Sunday tweeted that Alabama, along with the Carolinas and Georgia, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”
The National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., quickly responded that the state “will NOT see any impacts" from the hurricane, which it did not.
As Dorian hammered the Carolinas with wind and rain, Trump continued to back his claims, posting nine tweets (including a retweet) and five maps on his Twitter account. He also had the White House release a 225-word statement defending his warnings about Alabama, according to the Post.
The White House also released a statement from Rear Adm. Peter Brown, Trump’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, saying that he had briefed Trump on the hurricane Sunday morning using National Hurricane Center forecasts that showed the possibility of tropical-storm force winds in a southeast corner of Alabama.
“These products showed possible storm impacts well outside the official forecast cone,” Brown said in the statement.
Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer and executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion, is quoted in the Post story, saying the Alabama claims are indicative of the president’s belief that admitting error is a sign of weakness.
“He’s doubling down on the worst sides of his troubled personality — to never admit an error and to continue obsessing about it, and emphasizing it, when it doesn’t serve him well to do so,” O’Brien said in the story. “He doesn’t move along, because he is incapable of moving along."
White House officials believe that media coverage of the Alabama issue has been unfair to the president, according to the story.
Still, one senior administration official told the Post, “as long as it’s in the news, he is not going to drop it.”