#Sharpiegate Trends as People Mock Trump For Showing Hurricane Dorian Path Map Altered With Pen

President Donald Trump has been widely mocked after he displayed a map showing Hurricane Dorian's projected path in the Oval Office which appeared to have been altered with a marker pen to falsely show it was expected to hit Alabama.

Thousands of people have tweeted using the #Sharpiegate hashtag (alluding to the famous marker pen brand) following the bizarre moment in the White House in which Trump attempted to pass off a doctored National Hurricane Center map showing Dorian's projection as genuine in order to back up his previous claims that Alabama could be affected by the powerful storm.

The map, dated from August 29, has what appears to be a black marker pen line added on to show Dorian could hit south-east Alabama by Tuesday morning (September 3).

When a reporter in the Oval office asked whether a Sharpie was used to add the black loop into the corner of Alabama, Trump replied, "I don't know, I don't know." The original NHC map, without the black line, is still available to view online.

Social media users ridiculed Trump over #Sharpiegate, with many saying it is another example where the president has openly made false claims, exaggerated or attempted to mislead the public.

"This is probably the stupidest story since his crowd size on inauguration day....And I am here for every minute of it because this thin skinned petty man can't let it go and keeps making a bigger and bigger fool of himself," wrote Travis Bone, executive producer of The Stephanie Miller Show.

"#sharpiegate is so petty and moronic, but it underlines a deeply disturbing (and frankly, terrifying) propensity for the commander in chief of the US to lie, then cover it without regard to the consequences of accountability. Because no one holds him accountable. This is madness," said user @MuttersMommy.

As noted by weather analyst Dennis Mersereau, it is a federal crime to knowingly issue a "counterfeit weather forecast" or alter an official government weather forecast.

Despite the National Weather Service confirming that "Alabama will NOT see any impacts" from Dorian shortly after the president's original false claim, Trump once again attempted to prove his statement was correct by tweeting another map with several lines predicting Dorian's path, some of which cross into Alabama.

"This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages," Trump tweeted. "As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!"

As noted by The Guardian, the map is dated 28 August at 08.06 EDT, three days before Trump sent his tweet claiming that as well as Florida, "South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated." By this time, forecasts said that Alabama would not be in any danger from the hurricane.

The map also has the disclaimer: "NHC advisories and county emergency statements supersede this product. This graphic should complement, not replace, NHC discussions."

hurricane dorian
President Donald Trump references a map held by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while talking to reporters following a briefing from officials about Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office at the White House September 4, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The map was a forecast from August 29 and appears to have been altered by a black marker to extend the hurricane's range to include Alabama. Chip Somodevilla/Getty
#Sharpiegate Trends as People Mock Trump For Showing Hurricane Dorian Path Map Altered With Pen | U.S.