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NOAA Employees Cry Foul as Agency Backs Trump in Sharpiegate; Insiders Worry About President’s Mental Stability

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 7, 2019
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Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Current and past NOAA employees are condemning the agency’s decision to back President Donald Trump’s disputed claim last weekend that Alabama was at risk from Hurricane Dorian even after the storm’s path had moved it away from the state.

“As a former @NOAA leader I can say two things with certainty. No NOAA Administrator I worked for would have done this. And I would have quit if I had been directed to agree to let this BS go out,” tweeted Monica Medina, who previously served as deputy undersecretary of the Commerce Department where NOAA is housed.

In a statement attributed only to a NOAA spokesperson, the agency refuted its own denial last Sunday that Alabama continued to be at risk as Dorian moved toward Florida.

“From Wednesday, August 28, through Monday, September 2, the information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to President Trump and the wider public demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama. This is clearly demonstrated in Hurricane Advisories #15 through #41, which can be viewed on the center’s website.

“The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Trump spend much of the last six days asserting he was right and attacking critics such as ABC News, which reported on NOAA’s correction. In an incident dubbed Sharpiegate, the president held up a map on which someone had included Alabama in the path of the storm using a black marker.

Trump said he didn’t know three times when asked by a reporter who drew on the map. Media have quoted White House officials as saying Trump had drawn on the map.

Former and current NOAA officials say the president’s actions and the agency’s statement risk politicizing the agency and undermining public confidence in its vital forecasts. The Daily Beast reports:

The head of the union that represents federal weather workers said Friday that his members are “shocked, stunned and irate” that the federal agency whose workers they represent put out a statement siding with President Trump in the increasingly bizarre dispute over whether Hurricane Dorian was on track to hit Alabama.

“Never ever before has their management thrown them under the bus like this,” said Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, which represents 4,000 employees under the umbrella of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“These are the people risking their lives flying into hurricanes and putting out forecasts that save lives. Never before has their management undercut their scientifically sound reasoning and forecasts,” Sobien told The Daily Beast.

Climate change scientists have warned that a warming Earth caused by human greenhouse gas emissions is making weather more unpredictable and violent and hurricanes stronger. Dorian was the fourth Category 5 hurricane — the most powerful level — to develop in the Caribbean since took office more than 2.5 years ago.

However, Trump has called climate change a hoax invented by China to destroy American industry. His administration has removed climate information data from government websites, deleted mention of climate change impacts from press releases, and prevented government scientists from attending conferences to give talks on the subject.

In a report titled, Sidelining Science Since Day One, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) detailed “dozens of cases where science has been ignored, denied, distorted, silenced, or hidden from public view” during Trump’s first six months in office. UCS said:

Since President Trump took office in January 2017, his administration (aided and abetted by Congress) has waged a war on science—undermining the role of science in public policy, giving industry undue influence on decisionmaking processes, creating a hostile environment for federal scientists, and reducing public access to scientific information.

This pattern of anti-science actions threatens the health and safety of the American people, with the greatest impacts likely to fall on the nation’s most vulnerable populations. The science community and the general public have responded to this threat with vigorous resistance, and we must continue to stand up for science if we are to prevent the worst potential consequences of the Trump administration’s actions.

The Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has compiled a comprehensive list of the Trump Administration’s actions on the subject.

In response to the Trump Administration’s actions and concerns about climate change, the Action Network is calling for a Climate Strike to occur on September 20.

Over the last year, millions of school climate strikers have been leaving their classrooms every Friday. Young people have woken up much of the world, and now they are asking everyone else to join them in action.

And on September 20, to coincide with the big UN climate meeting, we will support our youth’s call for adults to join them in the streets. Strikes can be a powerful tactic for shifting the balance of power by disrupting business as usual.

We urge the scientific community to stop work for a day, leave your labs, offices, classrooms, and fieldwork sites, and participate in the Global Climate Strike.

Meanwhile, Business Insider quotes White House insiders as saying they are increasingly concerned about what they say is Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior.

The sources, who are accustomed to the president’s misstatements, were particularly concerned that Trump was giving out incorrect information in the midst of a national emergency and his subsequent obsession with proving that he was correct.

“His mood changes from one minute to the next based on some headline or tweet, and the next thing you know his entire schedule gets tossed out the window because he’s losing his s—,” one former White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations about the president, told Insider.

“He’s deteriorating in plain sight,” one Republican strategist who is in frequent contact with the White House told Insider on Friday.

But a person who was close to Trump’s legal team during the Russia investigation told Insider his public statements were “nothing compared to what he’s like behind closed doors.”

“He’s like a bull seeing red,” this person added. “There’s just no getting through to him, and you can kiss your plans for the day goodbye because you’re basically stuck looking after a 4-year-old now.”

Sources said the president seems stressed by the upcoming 2020 presidential election and a slowing economy.

15 responses to “NOAA Employees Cry Foul as Agency Backs Trump in Sharpiegate; Insiders Worry About President’s Mental Stability”

  1. Robert G. Oler says:

    typical Trump lie

    • voronwae says:


      You mean Trump’s lie that NWS told him (and only him) that Dorian was headed for Alabama, or this story is a lie and nobody around Trump questions his sanity? Certainly Barbara Res does…

      • Emmet Ford says:

        Days before he made that statement, probably on Wednesday, August 28th, somebody showed Trump that (unaltered) graphic with a track that looked like the hurricane was going to cut right across Florida and continue into the Gulf. And they may have shown him that day’s spaghetti plots, and one or more of those may have run into Alabama. And maybe the briefer said “Alabama” out loud at some point, in an effort to hold Trump’s attention.

        And that was the last hurricane briefing Trump paid attention to. Once they shot down his nuke-the-hurricane idea, he lost interest. It was very unfair the way that was reported, by the way. Very unfair.

        Then the weekend came and it was time for golf. Notionally, he was getting hourly briefings on the storm’s progress as he played. And they did a photo op at Camp David just to prove it. Then come Sunday, he’s back at the ranch and he decides to run his mouth a bit about Dorian just to demonstrate his engagement. But that damned spaghetti plot from the 28th bit him, and next thing he knew, everyone was laughing about Alabama. Poor Donny. It’s very unfair, the way he is treated. No other president has ever been treated this badly. Maybe Lincoln on that last day in office.

        And then, the NOAA office in Alabama told the world that he was wrong! More laughing.

        So Donny did what he always does. He doubled down. Then he tripled down. He showed everyone the offending graphic, complete with an obvious alteration via sharpie. Because he’s a pathetic moron. And then he ordered NOAA to publicly rebuke their Alabama office, which they did, because the acting NOAA Administrator (of course) wants to be the for-real Administrator (of course) and he does not realize (of course) that there is no way that will ever happen, not after his people embarrassed the clown in chief.

        The NOAA web site has an archive of all the track projections:

        This looks like the one that Trump defaced with a sharpie:


        Poor Donnie. He’s been treated very badly. No president has ever been treated so badly. Well, maybe JFK, on that last day in office. And now the Fed is causing a recession, because they’re against him, and if he doesn’t get re-elected, the Southern District of NY is going to put him in Epstein’s old cell, the one with the broken cameras and the overflowing toilet.

      • Jeff2Space says:

        That official map marked up with a Sharpie was a lie. At the time he mentioned Alabama, it was no longer in the predicted path. What he said was incorrect, but his fragile ego won’t allow him to admit he made a mistake. If he were my child, he’d be punished for the Sharpie lie, not for the original mistake of saying Alabama was in the path.

  2. Andrew Tubbiolo says:

    The US presidency has needed to be weakened for quite some time. This is just another example of why the office needs to be reigned in.

  3. Saturn1300 says:

    Trump did nothing wrong. The outrage is misplaced. I predict where a storm will go all the time. Anybody can be wrong,even Trump, NOAA or I. Usually NOAA is correct. They did change the track. It was headed W. Straight at me in TBA. I predicted that it would be attracted to a low pressure trough on Facebook. NOAA changed and did the same. But it kept going W. It could have gone and crossed Fla. and hit Ala. O no. But it stopped and set there for 2 days. Well at least it stopped. The steering currants must have been weak. Yea it is headed N. please follow the NOAA track. It is and is turning NE. That’s it. Will it push down any cool or at least dry air? Yes it does . I start planting my garden and irrigation. And back to normal. A break from the rainy season.
    The NOAA people may be trying to deflect or shall we say cover their ass. The weather channels were saying 160 mph in the Bahamas. I checked on It said 60 mph at Settlement Point. Very close to eye wall. To the S. Nassau said 40 as did the Canaveral E. buoy. So where was the Cat5? Were they lying to get viewers or was the NOAA info wrong that bad? Did they report Cat5 because NOAA predicted Cat5 and did not check the reporting stations to see if NOAA was correct? I did. NOAA blew it in speed prediction. It was 60mph in PR. It was probably always was that speed. I never checked the NOAA site to see if the speeds were what they predicted directly. Just the weather channels and newspaper. They may have been predicting 60 mph for all I know and these other people were wrong or lying.
    Now the Trump people may have told NOAA to predict a Cat5. So they could say we told you so. If they did that then outrage is needed. I can print out a weather map and draw some arrows on it. This is a free country even for Trump. He is welcome to disagree with NOAA anytime he wants, just like everyone else in the World. He may be wrong in his prediction however, just like everyone else in the World. Take it easy and relax Trump. I just say oh well when I make a mistake and try to do better next time. I don’t get mad or upset. I am not a perfectionist. An amateur scientist I guess. You should try it. It is relaxing.
    Back to football and racing on TV. You messed up my viewing Doug.

    • Paul_Scutts says:

      Ordinary people, like you and I, Saturn, have an automatic “right” to express our opinions, after all, how many people do we reach/influence when we do? How many people even give a shit when we “say” anything? But, when we are somebody (in)famous or we are somebody in the public spotlight, like leading politicians, sports people, actors, etc., then it becomes much more important that we really should consider the likely impacts due to the expression of our “personal” opinions. Trump has demonstrated, time and again, that he only really cares about himself. I find it incredulous that his “supporters”, in the main, still fail to see this, but then, maybe he’s got their number, they are essentially sadomasochistic types. Regards, Paul.

      • Saturn1300 says:

        Not at all. He guessed wrong. He is not God. From the info he had that was a good guess. My guess turned out correct. He is also also correct in that the media puts out fake news. They said 160 mph when it was 60 mph. Bradenton Herald usually puts out a correction, but not in this case that I saw. Sky News at a F1 race was saying how hot it was, but in fact it was 72 deg. F. Hype. He should heed the advice of another leader. Cap. Janeway of Voyager. 7:”I made a mistake.” Janeway:” Unfortunately it happens.” So your advice to Trump is to say nothing? What is the fun in that? He should not fret however. It is not good for him. If it bothers you don’t vote for him. Or are you a Trump fan and don’t want him to get in trouble with voters? Sometimes saying nothing is best, other times not. Obama was correct when he said something as far as I can remember. Bush 2 was wrong a lot. He took it in stride. He said 1 time. “Did I really say that?” A mountain out of a mole hill. A tempest in a tea pot. Politics. Rep. Johnson should check and see what caused the error. Science Committee.

    • Douglas Messier says:


    • Jeff2Space says:

      “Trump did nothing wrong.” – Other than deliberately mark up an official forecast with a Sharpie because his ego is too fragile to admit he made a mistake when he said Alabama was in the path (it wasn’t at the time he said it). This is an example of Trump lying to the public about something petty. So when it’s something important, we’re supposed to trust him?

    • Douglas Messier says:

      Make all the storm predictions you want. I don’t care. The rest of us need to rely on the National Weather Service. And its forecasts need to be complete free from being politicized. That can’t happen in a nation this susceptible to severe weather. Certainly not to protect some president’s fragile ego.

      Happy to disrupt your day.

  4. Robert G. Oler says:

    this story is an example of why he is unfit

  5. Cluebat Vanexodar says:

    The usual suspects try all the time to make him appear a liar. Do you really believe that he printed out these plots and misrepresented them in order to mislead us? Seek help.
    The charts were material from the briefing he probably requested. The sharpie probably from someone at this briefing explaining to him the extent of damage if the storm tracked West. The most that he can be accused of is being ignorant of the probability of the storm turning west at the time he spoke. Instead, he is presented as a liar.
    Typical from media. The bureau though- as an organ of gov, is another matter. They have exposed themselves as being rebellious. Another arm of Deep State mentality.

  6. Pete Zaitcev says:

    Just shows how crazy liberals have become.

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