Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Hurricane Tweets, Sources Say – The New York Times
WASHINGTON â The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at NOAA on Friday after the agencyâs Birmingham office contradicted President Trumpâs claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.
That threat led to an unusual, unsigned statement later that Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disavowing the officeâs own position that Alabama was not at risk. The reversal caused widespread anger within the agency and drew criticism from the scientific community that NOAA, a division of the Commerce Department, had been bent to political purposes.
Officials at the White House and the Commerce Department declined to comment on administration involvement in the NOAA statement.
The actions by the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur L. Ross Jr., are the latest developments in a political imbroglio that began more than a week ago, when Dorian was bearing down on the Bahamas and Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that Alabama would be hit âharder than anticipated.â A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., posted on Twitter that âAlabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.â