Fox News anchor Sandra Smith was quick to defend President Donald Trump on Thursday morning over allegations that he used an altered weather map to back his false claim that Hurricane Dorian was predicted to hit Alabama.
Her defense was more of a dismissal of the controversy, telling viewers there wasn’t “any evidence” that the president marked up the map.
While discussing Dorian and its path with reporters on Wednesday, Trump pulled out a days-old NOAA forecast map showing Dorian heading for central Florida with its official cone of uncertainty extended into Alabama by what appeared to be a black Sharpie marking.
Appearing Thursday on America’s Newsroom, Democratic National Committee communications head Xochitl Hinojosa was pressed on Democrats’ climate policies before pivoting to the president’s doctored map.
“I think there is an important conversation happening in our party,” the Democratic spokesperson said. “All of them believe that climate change is real and we need to address this urgent threat in our nation and our world. And I think the difference is you saw yesterday Donald Trump, in order to prove a tweet right, was trying to put Alabama in the pathway of a hurricane.”
As Hinojosa continued to rail against Trump, Smith jumped in to push back.
“We don’t have any evidence he did that,” the Fox News anchor declared. “He says he doesn’t know who did it, he said.”
Indeed, after Trump was confronted by reporters on Wednesday about the clearly doctored forecast map, the president gave a non-denial: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said.
Trump then doubled down on his false claim: “I know that Alabama was in the original forecast, they thought it would get a piece of it. We have a better map... in all cases Alabama was hit, if not lightly in some cases pretty hard. They gave it a 95 percent chance.”
For days now, the president has insisted that he was correct in asserting that Alabama was in the hurricane’s path. On Sunday, Trump warned Alabama that they could be “hit (much) harder than anticipated,” prompting the Birmingham branch of the National Weather Service to fire back that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.” Nevertheless, he made the claim twice more on Sunday.
And the president has since refused to back down. After claiming Monday that he wasn’t wrong and “under certain original scenarios, it was in fact correct that Alabama could have received some ‘hurt,’” and displaying an old altered map to make his case on Wednesday, Trump has continued to hammer away on Twitter over the topic.
Smith’s pushback against Hinojosa, meanwhile, came on the heels of Trump calling her out on Twitter last week for supposedly going easy on the DNC flack during a Fox News interview on the upcoming Democratic primary debate.