Sometimes it's nice to be ahead of the curve. But more often than not it's great when there's something reprehensible is done, and it not only doesn't slip through the cracks, but has klieg lights pouring brilliance down on it.
But then, you know when you've pissed off Al Roker, you've done something really, really wrong.
What's notable here is not just that Trump lied. And lied in the Oval Office. And lied in the Oval Office during an emergency. And lied in the Oval Office during an emergency about the emergency...but it's illegal. It is a federal crime to doctor a government-issued weather forecast.
While I understand news coverage be careful saying that they don't know if Trump knew the map was altered, and that they don't know if he himself took the Sharpie pen and childishly doctored the map or someone else did, we CAN BE SURE, at the very least, that it was changed to cover for Trump's original false information. There's no other reason to have changed the map.
The thing is, someone knew it was altered -- since someone did alter it -- and if it wasn't Trump, that person didn't say "You can't show this." But the further thing is, it's incredibly difficult (that's the polite term for "near impossible") to imagine someone altering the map without telling Trump and then letting the president unknowingly go out with a childishly doctored map that everyone will blatantly see was doctored. So, what clearly has to be most likely is that either Trump altered the map, or he had someone else do it.
Bloomberg News reported that it was Trump who changed the map. CNN said it was someone else. Either way, Trump is at the center of it. There are other possible solutions -- none are realistic.
How unrealistic are all other possibilities? If someone else did it without telling Trump, if it was just an accident, if, if, if...then still -- why on earth didn't Trump himself notice that the map was altered to now cover the area he had claimed was in the path of the hurricane which the NWS had debunked?? It is not imaginable that he didn't simply look at the map. And looking at the map, it is not imaginable that he didn't see the black Sharpie line covering Alabama that he had previously claimed was under hurricane threat and which the National Weather Service had denied. He'd have said, "See! I was right! Alabama IS under threat." Except the problem is that the previous same map didn't included Alabama so he'd have seen it was doctored. And everyone in the room would have seen it was doctored.
This was an attempt to deceive the public. During an emergency.
This isn't just about drawing a line on a map with a Sharpie. It isn't even about committing a federal crime in the Oval Office (though that's not to be dismissed). This is about the lack of trust for the president during an emergency. Ever since Trump was sworn in, we knew that "lack of trust during an emergency" was coming at some point -- and here it is.
And just to clarify, because it can't be dismissed, this is not only actual, real world "fake news" from Trump -- it's illegal fake news.
This is not normal.
And worse (yes, it can get worse), later, when confronted with the map illegally being altered by a Sharpie, Trump told even more lies about the supposed-original path of the storm...which the National Weather Service already debunked. And it's the final nail establishing that Trump was behind it. Because if he wasn't, if he really was hoodwinked by his staff...that would have been the world's easiest out. To blame someone else. Which is what Trump does like breathing. But he didn't blame anyone else. He doubled-down and gave a bizarre, convoluted defense of the action. Because it was his action -- either directly or by order. As in, "I hereby order," a phrase he seems to love.
And in the end, what may be most important thing about this all is its showing the NEED of Trump to lie. It was a nothing-gaffe at first. The easiest thing in the world woud have been to say that "I was given wrong information", or I mis-heard what I was told. The matter would have been finished, resolved, over. But -- Trump Can't Acknowledge Being Wrong About ANYTHING. And so, he must, must, must, must lie. And so when confronted about the doctored-map, Trump could have said he had no idea it was done, and he will find out who did it and be so outraged he'll reprimand them. Instead, he quadrupled-down with the most convoluted lie because he had, had, had to continued to live his original lie. About something that is a nothing. And that's the problem -- when someone lies about a "nothing," he or she will lie about pretty much everything. Because it appears that they're pathological and have to lie.
But ultimately, once again, like pretty much everything swirling around Trump, this is not about Trump. We know who he is. This is about the elected officials of the Republican Party, who enable him, who are silent with the president lies and commits a federal crime in the Oval Office, and are complicit.