Government Agency Melting Down Over Trump’s Hurricane Fiasco
Just a reminder and follow-up to Trump's hurricane pie-in-the-face performance.
"In early September, as Hurricane Dorian battered the East Coast, President Donald Trump didn’t want to admit he was wrong about the storm’s impact in a tweet he had sent, so he instead dug in, dragged senior government officials into his charade, and even hosted reporters in the Oval Office to show them a days-old forecast map that he’d personally altered to prove that Alabama was in danger when it really wasn’t.
It was yet another bizarre, protracted episode of the Trump presidency and one that, as emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show, created massive internal headaches for personnel at various agencies. . . .
[. . .]
The internal response and email traffic provides a window into just how much Trump can upend the functions of a government in the midst of a crisis—all in the service of satisfying his pet grievances or fleeting fixation of the moment.
[. . .]
“One of my forecasters just messaged me and said CNN is contacting him on his personal twitter asking for comment,” he wrote in an internal email.
That afternoon, NOAA decided to put out an unsigned statement that backed the president’s assertion that Alabama was in the crosshairs. . . .
Alek Krautmann, a NOAA programmer, wrote to John Leslie, a public affairs officer, to note that the “statement is deeply upsetting to NOAA employees that have worked the hurricane and not fully accurate based on the timeline in question.”. . .
From there, things just got worse. Staff were on the receiving end of blistering emails from angry citizens and concerned scientists who said the statement represented a low point for the agency. Susan Buchanan, the director of public affairs for the National Weather Service, emailed to say that NWS employees in Pennsylvania were “receiving a lot of angry/hate mail and phone calls on our cell phones about the statement NOAA released yesterday.”
[. . .]
Mary Erickson, the National Weather Service’s deputy director, wrote back to say that “media is also targeting [Weather Forecast Offices] folks on personal phones and emails. It [sic] creating a growing concern about impacting our connections to [Emergency Managers], since leaders at some WFO’s have had to turn off their cell phones due to the large volume of calls.”
Benjamin Friedman, NOAA’s deputy under secretary for operations, responded that he, too, had been ”targeted as well.”
Sometimes I get frustrated because it seems like there isn't much reaction out there to things I find outrageous. I forget that waiting for emails to be released to the public can cause a delay in getting some news out there, and by the time it is released, the media has moved on to a new story.
So this is kind of a "postscript" to the Trump as Weather-forecaster debacle. Lots of people were really upset!