Top scientists and officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) privately criticized President Donald Trump’s altered map of the track of Hurricane Dorian to include Alabama, according to emails obtained by the Washington Post through the Freedom of Information Act.
In one email exchange, Cory Pieper, social media director at the NWS, alerted the public affairs office that the president “doctored” the image he showed on national television. Susan Buchanan, the director of the office, replied, “Are you sure they were doctored?” Pieper wrote back, “Yes, that was doctored.”
The emails also show how NOAA’s second in command, Ret. Rear Adm. Tim Galludet, scrambled to be clear that neither he nor acting administrator Neil Jacobs approved a highly suspect unsigned statement following the incident that criticized the NWS forecast office for contradicting the president. The incident happened after Trump errantly claimed that Alabama “will most likely be hit harder than anticipated” from the Category 5 storm with a map that appeared to extend the hurricane’s path with a Sharpie marker. An email form Galludet to a top marine biologist, said, “[P]lease accept Neil’s reply as a sincere acknowledgment of a press release we did not approve or support,” Gallaudet wrote. “You know from my multiple messages to you and your colleagues that we respect and stand behind your service and scientific integrity.”