WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen Thursday called on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to resign in the wake of a controversy involving a supposedly hand-altered map that changed an official forecast for Hurricane Dorian.
On Twitter, Van Hollen accused Ross, who oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau, as “putting politics above science and data.”
“We need a Commerce Secretary who will fulfill his oath, not one who sees his job as providing political cover for Trump whenever the White House orders. Ross must resign,” Van Hollen tweeted.
From the Census to NOAA, Secretary Ross has a troubling pattern of putting politics above science and data. We need a Commerce Secretary who will fulfill his oath, not one who sees his job as providing political cover for Trump whenever the White House orders. Ross must resign.
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) September 12, 2019
The controversy stems from a claim from President Trump on September 1 that Alabama could be hit by the then-Category 5 hurricane. The National Weather Service in Birmingham later tweeted the state would not be affected.
In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) September 1, 2019
Speaking to reporters days later, the president held up a map of an earlier forecast that appeared to have been altered with a black marker to include Alabama in the hurricane’s path.
On Friday, an NOAA spokesperson released a statement backing up Trump’s assertion and refuting the local weather service’s tweet.
Ross has denied threatening to fire NOAA staff who contradicted the president, CBS News reported.