The Slatest

White House Official Says It Was Trump Himself Who Altered the Hurricane Dorian Map With a Sharpie

President Donald Trump tosses a sharpie pen that he was using for autographs at the Palm Beach International Airport.
Sharpie toss. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At this point, it’s almost like President Donald Trump wishes Hurricane Dorian had hit Alabama. The president of the United States, of course, made multiple erroneous claims about the trajectory of the storm as it inched toward the U.S. But Trump makes stuff up all the time. Everyone would have likely moved on, if it hadn’t been for the president’s oafish attempt to prove that he was right all along with an outdated, doctored map of the storm’s path.

The president wouldn’t let it go, so the press wouldn’t let it go, and here we are with the Washington Post reporting it was Trump himself who drew on the map, extending the range of the storm’s impact to include a teensy-weensy tip of Alabama.

It was Trump who used a black Sharpie to mark up an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map, which he displayed during an Oval Office briefing on Wednesday, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie,” the official said of the map, which added Alabama into the hurricane’s potential pathway inside the loop of the marker.

Does it matter that the president got it wrong? Yes. Could he have admitted it was a mistake and everyone would have moved on? Yes. Does it matter that he’s now engaged in the most ludicrous, inane cover-up imaginable? Yes. There are many disturbing parts to this, the latest chapter of Life Under Trump, but the perhaps most unsettling part is Trump’s ability to break down the reality of an event and then reconstruct it using the various apparatuses of state power and information. It’s almost like China, just in China the line including Alabama wouldn’t have been drawn in marker.