In recent months, Donald Trump has been trying to fire Inspectors General so that he can continue his quest to destroy the country with zero accountability. Despite his obstructive efforts, Commerce Department IG Peggy Gustafson just issued a report lambasting the Trump administration for the Sharpiegate fiasco. Although this report does not concern treason, genocide, or even cruelty, it reminds us that the United States remains under the grip of an infantile lunatic.
Gustafson released her report Thursday—after the Commerce Department held it up for several days—following an investigation into the mess Trump created when he defaced a map to erroneously place Alabama in Hurricane Dorian’s crosshairs in September 2019. The report blasts Trump’s Commerce Department for leading a deeply “flawed process” that let politics interfere with science, “discounting” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) critical role.
Specifically, the report detailed the “poor judgment” the Commerce Department displayed by forcing NOAA to issue an unsigned statement to refute a 5-day-old tweet about Dorian’s path merely to mollify Trump’s fragile ego. Dr. Neil Jacobs, NOAA’s acting chief, told the IG that “things went crazy in the middle of the night” after the White House pressured NOAA to release the statement, and that employees “definitely felt like our jobs were on the line.”
Compared to Donald Trump’s other scandals, Sharpiegate appears relatively mild because it is essentially the story of a crybaby who tried to cover up his ignorance in an absurd fashion. However, interfering with the accuracy of severe weather forecasts is no slight matter. An offense can create confusion over who needs to prepare for the storm’s danger, potentially putting lives at risk while damaging the authority of government scientists.
According to the report, the Commerce Department’s heavy-handed action to placate Trump “hit at the core” of NOAA, harming its credibility and employee morale. On a more positive note, the report cited NOAA employees’ readiness to move forward, quoting one forecaster as eager to “get back to our jobs, protection of life and property. That’s what we love doing.”
This IG report underscores what we already know, that the Trump administration is so toxic that it prevents the government from functioning in an efficient and trustworthy manner. The antidote is to replace this disastrous administration with one that radiates competence and respects science. As this new IG report reminds us, elections matter and November 3 cannot arrive quickly enough.