NOAA chief praises agency scientists after statement backing up Trump tweet

The acting chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Friday reportedly praised the agency in an all-staff email after it released a statement last week siding with President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE over its own scientists.

In an email with the subject line “Keeping NOAA’s Mission in Focus,” Neil Jacobs highlighted the efforts of the National Weather Service's Birmingham office and said forecasters “did their utmost” to predict accurate forecasts, The Washington Post reported.

“During hurricane Dorian, our Weather Forecast Offices, including Birmingham and the National Hurricane Center, did their utmost to produce accurate and timely weather forecasts to inform the general public and ensure public safety,” Jacobs wrote.

He added, “The American people are depending on our agency. There is no question in my mind that we will continue to provide expert analyses and predictions to keep Americans safe, and that all our line and staff offices will support the American public during these events. Our work saves lives.”


“Our team is committed to upholding scientific integrity,” his email concluded, according to the Post.

The email comes after NOAA issued a statement on Sept. 6 disavowing a days-old tweet from the National Weather Service office in Birmingham that contradicted Trump's remarks on the path of Dorian.

The statement, which was unsigned and posted to the agency's website, said the "Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time."

The statement caused widespread backlash by siding instead with Trump, who had incorrectly tweeted days earlier that Alabama would be among several states that would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

The Post reported that Jacobs and another top NOAA aide were involved in crafting the statement, but the newspaper reported that Jacobs fought issuing such a statement, citing two sources.

Jacobs praised the Birmingham office in a speech at the National Weather Association annual conference earlier this week, saying, “We understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather office, which was to calm fears and support public safety.” 

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week Sunday shows — Mulvaney seeks to tamp down firestorm over quid pro quo comments, Doral decision Mulvaney says he thinks Trump knows people thought Doral decision looked 'lousy' MORE reportedly instructed Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossUS ban on China tech giant faces uncertainty a month out US imposes new sanctions on Cuba over human rights, Venezuela Commerce Department to develop stats on income inequality MORE to have NOAA support Trump’s comments on the threat of Dorian to Alabama and contradict the National Weather Service, The New York Times later reported.

House Democrats and the Department of Commerce’s inspector general are investigating the matter.