Fox News Reporter Says Trump Called Him Into Oval Office to Argue He Was Right About Dorian Threatening Alabama

Fox News White House reporter John Roberts said President Donald Trump called him into the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon to argue that he was right about Hurricane Dorian threatening Alabama.

During the meeting, Roberts explained in an internal Fox email obtained by CNN, Trump argued that he was correct in claiming that early projections of Dorian showed it would impact Alabama. "He stressed to me that forecasts for Dorian last week had Alabama in the warning cone," the reporter wrote. "He insisted that it is unfair to say Alabama was never threatened by the storm."

Roberts believed that the president was "just looking for acknowledgment that he was not wrong for saying that at some point, Alabama was at risk ⁠— even if the situation had changed by the time he issued the tweet." He said the president also used maps and visuals in a bid to prove his point.

Trump has faced immense backlash in the past 24 hours for displaying a map in the Oval Office of Hurricane Dorian's path that appeared to be shoddily altered to include Alabama in the storm's trajectory.

The president appeared to have been doubling down on a tweet he shared on Sunday, where he alleged that Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama were all states in the impending storm's path. Moments later, the National Weather service responded on Twitter by refuting the president's claims and assuring Alabama residents that they would not be affected by the storm.

Roberts was among the many reporters who condemned the president's use of the altered map on Wednesday. "This is a forecast track that the president held up from last week where it looked like the hurricane was going to slam into the Florida coast maybe even across the peninsula and get into the Gulf of Mexico," he told host Bret Baier during a Fox News segment yesterday afternoon.

"You can see somebody with a Sharpie or some other writing instruments added a little bit to the cone of uncertainty, which was not a part of the official forecast, which included the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama," Roberts continued, before concluding that Alabama "was never part of the official forecast."

Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) references a map held by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while talking to reporters about Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office at the White House September 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

A White House aide familiar with Roberts' Thursday meeting with Trump told CNN that the president had also criticized Fox News anchor Shephard Smith over his unfavorable coverage of the Alabama map. Trump wanted to "hit back at Shepard Smith," the aide said.

After Roberts pushed back against the president's argument by noting that Dorian trajectory did not include Alabama when he sent out the tweet on Sunday, the president "seemed to agree that the forecast track had moved," the reporter wrote in the email.

"But he was adamant that at some point, Alabama was at risk," Roberts added. "He also reminded that on occasions in the past, forecast tracks have changed dramatically."

As the president continued to defend himself on Twitter Thursday afternoon, the White House also moved to shield the president's remarks by issuing an official statement.

In the statement, White House adviser Rear Adm. Peter Brown said had he briefed the president numerous times about Dorian, using models that demonstrated the storm's predicted path.

"While speaking to the press on Sunday, September 1, the President addressed Hurricane Dorian and its potential impact on multiple states, including Alabama," Brown said. "The president's comments were based on that morning's Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama."

Later, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta took to Twitter to criticize the statement for not including information on "who altered the map."