THE WHITE HOUSE – President Donald Trump updated the media on Wednesday in the Oval Office on the progress of Hurricane Dorian, saying that Florida was “very, very lucky” and that the Bahamas was “hit like few people have seen before.”
Displaying an apparently doctored National Hurricane Center map with an extended hand-drawn cone that encompassed parts of the Gulf of Mexico and Alabama, Trump said, “We thought we’d give you an update on the hurricane. We got lucky in Florida – very, very lucky indeed. We had – actually, our original chart was that it was going to be hit – hitting Florida directly. … It was going to be hitting directly, and that would have affected a lot of other states. But that was the original chart.”
The president added:
“And you see it was going to hit not only Florida, but Georgia. It could have – it was going toward the Gulf. That was … what was originally projected. And it took a right turn and ultimately – hopefully, we’re going to be lucky. It depends on what happens with South Carolina and North Carolina. But it’s heading up the coast, and Florida was grazed – mostly wind. And we’re going to have a report on that.”
The hurricane pummeled the Bahamas for two straight days. At least 20 people reportedly died on Abaco Island and the death toll is expected to rise, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at a news conference. Hundreds of homes and other structures have been destroyed or damaged.
Trump said “we’re helping in a humanitarian way. We’ve been asked to help by the government of the Bahamas. And we have numerous helicopters, and we’re sending … some people to give them a hand, and they need a big hand. What’s going on over there is incredible. Few people have seen anything like that, although, I must tell you, over the years, there have been some hurricanes that were bigger and stronger and more powerful that hit us very hard also.”
He had warned on Saturday via Twitter of Hurricane Dorian’s potential to hit Alabama, despite the National Weather Service’s repeated assurances that the state was unlikely to be affected:
In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
Later Saturday morning, the National Weather Service’s Birmingham, Ala., office corrected the president’s erroneous narrative with this tweet:
— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) September 1, 2019
Hurricane Dorian continues to threaten millions of Americans along the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina with a storm surge that could top 8 feet. The Carolinas could see up to 15 inches of rain as the storm passes.