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Trump drags his Alabama hurricane claims into 6th day

POLITICO logo POLITICO 9/6/2019 By Caitlin Oprysko

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Donald Trump isn't letting it go.

The president on Friday continued to defend his misleading prognostication for the path of Hurricane Dorian, assailing the news media and in the process, digging in and reviving the controversy for a sixth day.

“The Fake News Media was fixated on the fact that I properly said, at the beginnings of Hurricane Dorian, that in addition to Florida & other states, Alabama may also be grazed or hit.” Trump said in a series of tweets. “They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t). Check out maps.”

“This nonsense has never happened to another President,” he continued, complaining that he’d been subjected to “four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology. But there are many things that the Fake News Media has not apologized to me for, like the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate!”

He concluded: "The LameStream Media and their Democrat partner should start playing it straight. It would be so much better for our Country!"

Despite Trump's assertion that he'd originally suggested Alabama could be "grazed or hit," the nearly weeklong controversy originated in a Sunday tweet that declared Alabama was among a handful of Southeastern states that “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

The National Weather Service almost immediately debunked the president’s claim, but he repeated the assertion twice more that day, and one day later he lashed out at an ABC News correspondent who’d fact-checked him on the issue.

The fiasco compounded Wednesday when Trump showed reporters a days-old map forecasting Dorian’s path that had been doctored to include Alabama in the storm’s path.

After being roundly mocked on social media and cable news, Trump spent much of Thursday defending his initial claim with outdated forecasts and railing against the press on Twitter. On Thursday evening, the White House released a statement from the president’s homeland security adviser taking credit for briefing Trump that Alabama could be impacted by the storm.

Slideshow by photo services

And though he is not wrong that some of the earliest models for Dorian’s path included the possibility that Alabama could be impacted by the storm, the probability of any kind of direct hit had diminished nearly entirely by the time of Trump’s tweet, making his repeated assertions misleading at best.

At the time of Trump’s initial tweet, the most recent forecast from the National Hurricane Center showed that a sliver of the state had a less than 10 percent chance of seeing tropical storm-force winds as Dorian made its sharp turn and chugged up the East Coast.

The president's reelection campaign quickly sought to fundraise off the controversy, debuting "Official Donald Trump Fine Point Markers" in its online shop, adorned with the president's signature in gold.

"Buy the official Trump marker, which is different than every other marker on the market, because this one has the special ability to drive @CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy!" campaign manager Brad Parscale wrote in a tweet, finishing with a tweaked version of Trump's reelection slogan: "#KeepMarkersGreat."

Trump’s continued insistence that Alabama was in the line of fire came as Hurricane Dorian continued to batter the coast of the Carolinas, making landfall in North Carolina overnight and as the Bahamas continued digging out of the wreckage from the punishing storm.

At least 30 have been confirmed dead in the Bahamas so far, and at least four have been killed in the Southeastern U.S., according to The Associated Press.

Trump praised emergency workers in a separate tweet Friday, writing: "Great job by FEMA, Law Enforcement, First Responders, U.S. Coast Guard, and ALL! Keep going, we all appreciate what you are doing!"

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