There is little in the current news cycle that is less important than Donald Trump’s absurd and pointless lies about Alabama being in the path of Hurricane Dorian. For the record, Alabama was ruled out as being at risk two days before Trump issued his warning to residents of that state. But despite the facts that were confirmed by the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center, Trump has elevated this nonsense to ridiculously atmospheric heights.
There is a case to be made that Trump’s lying is significant because it might have unnecessarily rattled Alabamians or even shifted resources to areas where they weren’t needed. But more troubling is that it puts Trump’s severe mental instability on display. He could have just said that a mistake was made and this story would have slipped quietly away. Instead, he turned his egotistical aversion to ever being challenged up to twelve – that’s twelve pile-on tweets insisting that he was correct, contrary to reality.
The latest of these demented tweets came on Friday morning when he accused the media of being fixated on the story he has been obsessively ranting about. “They went Crazy,” he tweeted, “hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t).” Well, yes he did, and all the evidence affirms it. He went on to whine about not getting an apology that he doesn’t deserve, including for “the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate!” Nevermind that the Mueller probe (aka “witch hunt” in Trump’s cartoon brain) produced abundant evidence of Trump’s illegal activities, and “SpyGate” was a figment of his imagination.
However, the most deplorable action on Trump’s part during this vacuous waste of time occurred on Thursday when, as reported by CNN, Trump ordered the Fox News White House correspondent, John Roberts, to appear before him in his chambers. Trump was very unhappy with the reporting by Roberts and Fox News anchor Shepard Smith.
In an email by Roberts that was provided to CNN, he said that Trump “insisted that it is unfair to say Alabama was never threatened by the storm.” Roberts wrote that Trump was “looking for acknowledgment that he was not wrong” when he falsely claimed on Sunday that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian. By that time it was already known that Dorian had turned sharply to the north and east. But that didn’t stop Trump from lobbying Roberts with outdated information and charts. Even in those old projections there was only a 5-10 percent chance of a slight brushing of a sliver of Alabama, while Trump had said that there was 95 percent probability of landfall in Alabama.
CNN also reported that Trump “voiced his displeasure about Fox News anchor Shepard Smith’s skeptical reporting about the Alabama map,” and asked Roberts “to hit back at Shepard Smith.” This would be regarded as wholly inappropriate for any president to say to any journalist, but this is Trump and Fox News, so all pretensions to credibility are irrelevant. What Trump was fuming about was Smith’s commentary on the Alabama non-controversy (the video wouldn’t load in dKos, but you can see it here):
Some things in Trumplandia are inexplicable. This week’s edition, the President’s ongoing claim that Alabama was at risk from hurricane Dorian. It wasn’t. Maybe he got some bad info, somebody maybe he made a mistake. Maybe he was confused. We don’t know. But he was wrong. Everybody makes mistakes. Instead the next day, the president blamed the media for his own inaccurate warning and started to rewrite history on the matter. […]Why would the president of the United States do this? He decries fake news that isn’t and disseminates fake news that is. Think China pays the tariffs. The wall is going up. Historic inauguration crowd. Russia probe is a witch hunt. You need an ID to buy cereal. Noise from windmills causes cancer. It’s endless.
Indeed, it does seem to be endless as Trump prolongs this spectacle into the weekend. And along with trying to bully his friends at Fox News, Trump ordered his Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, to issue a flagrantly false work of propaganda that backed up Trump’s ever-expanding web of lies. And not surprisingly, Trump’s BFF, Sean Hannity, took to the air to criticize the “psychotic jackasses in the media mob” who he said were misreporting that Trump lied, even though they merely reported the actual events as they occurred.
The only reason this preposterous story persists is that Trump can’t keep his narcissistic mouth shut for thirty seconds. His deranged insistence that he be perceived as right in all matters at all times forces him to defend even the most trivial blather that oozes from his pie hole on an all too frequent basis. And this time he even tried to browbeat a friendly Foxie into complicity with his dishonest drivel. The fact that it didn’t work may be a sign of trouble ahead for Trump. We can only hope.