Turns Out The White House Was Behind Ross’ NOAA Threats After All

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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September 11, 2019 12:37 p.m.

On President Donald Trump’s orders, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to strong-arm the NOAA into supporting President Donald Trump’s baseless insistence that Alabama was in Hurricane Dorian’s path.

Trump had been complaining about a tweet from the Birmingham, Alabama National Weather Service office correcting his false statements for days, according to the Washington Post. 

That griping led Mulvaney to press Ross to obtain a public disavowal of the Birmingham statement from acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs, as first reported by the New York Times.

Ross reportedly called Jacobs on Friday and threatened him and other political staffers with termination should they not obey. Later that day, an unsigned statement went up on the NOAA website criticizing the Birmingham office for speaking in “absolute terms.”

After news broke that Commerce Department Inspector General Peggy Gustafson was looking into the unsigned statement, Senate Democrats wrote her to specifically ask that she see if White House officials were directly involved.

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