Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly threatened to fire top employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) after officials contradicted President Trump’s claim that Alabama could be impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
Trump faced pushback from meteorologists last week after stating that Alabama would potentially feel the effects of Dorian. The warning, which came via tweet, prompted the National Weather Service’s Birmingham branch to emphasize on Twitter that the state would not be affected by the storm.
Trump adamantly defended his position throughout the week and at one point displayed a map in the Oval Office that appeared to show a marker-drawn addition to indicate Dorian would hit Alabama.
Ross contacted acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs two days later and asked him to fix issues related to the perception that the agency had contradicted Trump, The New York Times reported Monday, citing three people familiar with the discussion. The newspaper said that Jacobs initially objected.
He was then told that political staff at NOAA would be dismissed if the situation wasn’t resolved.
The threat was followed by an unsigned NOAA statement affirming Trump’s claims and disavowing the tweet from the National Weather Service in Birmingham about the hurricane.
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