The outrage is palpable as Americans are learning Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials after the agency's Birmingham office posted this tweet effectively countering President Donald Trump's lie that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian:
Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Ala… https://t.co/tI2SqytJga— NWS Birmingham (@NWS Birmingham)1567350706.0
On Friday, "Ross phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president," The New York Times reports.
"Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. Unlike career government employees, political staff are appointed by the administration. They usually include a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides."
Many across the nation were outraged when the NOAA issued a rare – and unsigned – statement apparently rejecting the Birmingham NOAA tweet and insisting – despite zero evidence – that the President was correct and Alabama was in the projected line of Hurricane Dorian's wrath. Alabama was never impacted.
Ross, who as Commerce Secretary oversees the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is also responsible for a tremendous amount of factual data and reports, as economist and professor Justin Wolfers, who is calling for Ross' firing, notes:
This is an outrage and Wilbur Ross should be fired. Or if he was directed to do this by the White House, he should… https://t.co/k9iiIovFSa— Justin Wolfers (@Justin Wolfers)1568060133.0
On social media many others also called for Ross to be fired – or should resign – over the politicization of the NOAA and the threat:
Nothing good that can come from pushing scientists to lie about science.— Justin Wolfers (@Justin Wolfers)1568060483.0
This is only the most recent among the dozens of reasons why Wilbur Ross should go. Someone please wake him up and… https://t.co/I5yj8lshHF— David Rothkopf (@David Rothkopf)1568057751.0
Congressional Democrats should be calling on Wilbur Ross to resign immediately. If he refuses they should impeach h… https://t.co/hww4pdBCrr— Michael Cohen (@Michael Cohen)1568058831.0
Wilbur Ross needs to resign, full stop. https://t.co/7noeYenbLn— Elise Jordan (@Elise Jordan)1568060394.0
Fire Wilbur Ross. https://t.co/DCxbMLA4sN— John Scalzi (@John Scalzi)1568060876.0
Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Commerce Secretary, threatened to fire @NOAA employees who were #DisloyalToTrump. Wilbur Ros… https://t.co/e0PXT0UCI8— Nancy Levine (@Nancy Levine)1568061215.0
Having a man-baby with a fragile ego in the White House is a national security disaster. Trump should be impeache… https://t.co/SSJsqn39uy— Lynn Comella (@Lynn Comella)1568058131.0