Donald Trump has spent the past week finding new ways to make his Alabama hurricane scandal even worse. He got caught drawing on a map with a Sharpie to cover for his initial mistake. He tried having a Rear Admiral and the NOAA put out phony statements claiming he was correct. But he can’t fix this mess. Now, Wilbur Ross has made it even worse for Trump.
When NOAA released the phony statement pretending that the hurricane was going to hit Alabama, it was because Donald Trump’s Secretary of Commerce called the NOAA and threatened to fire anyone who wasn’t willing to go along with Trump’s claims. We all instinctively knew something like this had happened. But because Ross is apparently the world’s most inept henchman, he made the threats in such a sloppy manner, it promptly leaked out to the New York Times (Update, 7:59pm: the Department of Commerce is now denying this, telling Palmer Report that “The New York Times story is false. Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian.”)
When you do this kind of thing behind the scenes, the whole point is to be discreet enough that it doesn’t leak out publicly, or else you’ve defeated the whole point. Ross, who by all accounts sleeps through most meetings and barely knows what’s going on, clearly botched this whole thing.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Donald Trump previously put Wilbur Ross in charge of rigging the 2020 census by including a racist citizenship question. Ross botched the whole thing so badly, the courts had to intervene, and it ended up falling apart. Multiple members of Congress are now calling for Ross to resign. One has to wonder if Trump will force him out, for having failed him yet again.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report