The Trump administration’s Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) after the agency contradicted DonaldTrump in a tweet about Hurricane Dorian possibly reaching Alabama.
According to Newsweek, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross forced the Birmingham office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agency to produce an unsigned statement rejecting their own staff’s announcement that Dorian would not hit Alabama. On Monday, Ross called acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs and threatened that if the tweet was not fixed, the agency’s political staff would be fired.
A commerce spokesperson has since replied to the initial New York Times report, saying, “The New York Times story is false. Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian.
However, three sources have confirmed that Dr. Jacobs denied Ross’ orders but was told over the phone last Friday that the NOAA-Birmingham office was trying to embarrass Trump with their fact-checked response about Dorian. The three sources, who remain anonymous, say the threat is what led the agency to release the statement supporting Trump’s fake news.
Per usual, Trump’s misstep made it to writing tables of comedians and broadcasters’ rundowns, but that didn’t stop Trump from pushing his prediction about Dorian hitting Alabama. A senior Trump administration official told NYT that they just wanted to correct the NOAA Birmingham office because it made a mistake in their report. The Times noted that the official “provided no evidence to support that conclusion.”