Despite evidence showing that President Donald Trump wasn’t wrong about Hurricane Dorian’s early possible threat against Alabama, CNN continues to run defense for his critics by insisting that he and every official who’s backed his claim are perpetrating some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy.
Enter CNN left-wing commentator Chris Cuomo, who tussled Friday night with Republican Party operative Niger Innis over this very matter. At the onset of the discussion, Cuomo asked Innis, “Why is the president making people in positions of power echo his error?”
The question was posed hours after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a statement clarifying that Alabama had indeed been in Dorian’s original trajectory. This statement was issued in response to a false tweet by the National Weather Service claiming that the president’s warning about Dorian potentially hitting Alabama was wrong.
In unsigned statement, @NOAA disavows the National Weather Service tweet that contradicted Trump about Hurricane Dorian’s path
— Jesse Byrnes (@jessebyrnes) September 6, 2019
Judging by Cuomo’s question, it appeared he believed the NOAA had been forced to issue this statement. Innis strongly felt otherwise.
“Because there’s another missing piece of the puzzle, which is that the National Hurricane Center issued a number of maps from the 27th of August through the 3rd of September, several of which showed that Alabama did have a 30 percent chance of getting hit by the hurricane,” he said. “And it’s based on some of those reports that the president made his estimation.”
In response, the CNN commentator doubled down.
“Point of fact, on the Sunday that he made this statement, these were the only available maps that he would have been shown, assuming he looked at anything,” he said.
“Right!” failed 2016 Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson and consultant Karen Finney yelled in agreement before bursting into chuckles.
On Thursday, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Peter J. Brown issued a statement confirming that he’d briefed the president “multiple times concerning the position, forecast, risks, and federal government preparations for and response to Hurricane Dorian.”
And in briefing the president, Brown had shared maps with him that showed Alabama as a possible target of the storm.
“The President’s comments were based on that morning’s Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama,” he said. “In fact, from the evening of Tuesday, August 27, until the morning of Monday, September 2, forecasts from the National Hurricane Center showed the possibility of tropical storm force winds hitting parts of Alabama.”
— NY Conservative (@MichaelMooreSyr) September 6, 2019
Finney continued the discussion by talking about the president’s allegedly “thin skin” and claiming that Trump’s tweet may have put people’s lives in danger.
It’s unclear how giving people an advance warning that a hurricane may strike their neighborhood would endanger them. In fact, this argument was so bizarre that even Cuomo dismissed it.
“I put the brakes on in terms of what damage he did. … I’m not about him putting people in danger with what he said. I’ll push back on that,” he said.
The host then returned to bashing Trump again.
“What I’m saying is this, Niger: He made a mistake,” he said. “Why would you justify it when you know it was a mistake, you know it was wrong, and if anybody said it other than this president, you wouldn’t be torturing yourself with an explanation right now?”
But instead of arguing that Trump hadn’t been wrong, Innis fired back by complaining about the insults and jeers Republicans have long faced and arguing that the president’s refusal to back down on the Alabama issue speaks to his refusal to be bullied like past GOP presidents.
Cuomo quickly dismissed this argument and returned to trotting out conspiracy theories about how the president has been forcing everybody — the NOAA, Rear Adm. Brown and even the Alabama National Guard — into carrying water for him.
“He was wrong, and now he’s going to people around him and saying, ‘You gotta take one for the team,'” the host said. “And that’s a dangerous thing to do, because if he’ll do it with this little stuff, what happens when he needs to justify saving his behind on the big stuff.”
There is no evidence to suggest that any of the individuals or groups that have defended the president were somehow coerced into issuing statements on his behalf.
Watch the rest of the discussion below:
The rest of it continued as before, with both Cuomo and Finney positing lies and conspiracy theories about the president.
“We were told he was getting hourly updates. The updates came from a set of models that we keep putting up on the screen that cannot lead you logically to the conclusion that he reached,” Cuomo said.
“So maybe he was going off of old information and that’s why he was wrong, or he misheard, or he pretended. Whatever it was, you cannot make him right. He was wrong. And then the problem becomes you’re defending something you know is indefensible.”
Rear Adm. Brown had already explained this in his statement …
“I showed the President the official National Hurricane Center forecast, which included the ‘cone’ that projects the potential path of the eye of the storm,” he’d said.
“The president and I also reviewed other products, including multiple meteorological models (often called the ‘spaghetti models’) and graphics that displayed the time of onset and geographical range of tropical storm force winds, storm surge, and rainfall. These products showed possible storm impacts well outside the official forecast cone.”
It’s not clear why Cuomo and Finney were unable to understand this otherwise-simple statement. To be fair, they’re not alone in boasting this mindset. On Friday former Obama administration NOAA chief David Titley issued a tweet bashing the agency’s current leadership for sticking up for the president:
Perhaps the darkest day ever for @noaa leadership. Don’t know how they will ever look their workforce in the eye again. Moral cowardice.
— David Titley (@dwtitley) September 6, 2019
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