New report revisits 'Sharpiegate' controversy

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on June 16, 2020 - Duration: 01:39s

New report revisits 'Sharpiegate' controversy

A Monday report found that U.S. agency leaders violated their own policy on scientific integrity after they backed a Trump tweet about Hurricane Dorian last year - that was false.

Gloria Tso reports.

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New report revisits 'Sharpiegate' controversy

A new report found that U.S. agency leaders violated their own policy on scientific integrity after they backed a Trump tweet about Hurricane Dorian last year - that was false.

The controversy is now known as 'Sharpiegate.'

As Dorian bore down on the United States, Trump displayed a map from the NOAA that had been altered.

A bubble traced in Sharpie marker showed Hurricane Dorian supposedly threatening the state of Alabama.

The president had tweeted days earlier that Alabama would quote "most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated" by Dorian.

The claim was shot down within minutes by National Weather Service meterologists in Alabama, who said the system would stay too far east.

But Trump doubled down with his map in the Oval Office.

Then the NOAA, which heads the NWS, later issued a statement which not only contradicted its own local office -- but also stood by Trump's forecast.

A memo released alongside Monday's report (June 15) found that in backing Trump, NOAA leadership showed quote "reckless disregard of the Code of Scientific Conduct" and quote "felt significant external pressure to do so." The NOAA falls under Trump cabinet member Wilbur Ross.

Last year, the New York Times reported that Ross threatened to fire top employees at the Alabama office after they contradicted the president.

It also reported that then-acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Ross to order the NOAA to disavow the Alabama office's tweet.

In a response to Monday's report, NOAA's former deputy chief of staff Julie Roberts defended the agency.

She said the report failed to quote "provide the complete picture of what occurred, and the contextual factors that played a role in the statement."

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