Hawaii missile alert: Donald Trump has not responded to false alarm but has tweeted about Michael Wolff's book

US President criticised for playing golf while panicked Hawaiians scrambled to find shelter

Samuel Osborne
Sunday 14 January 2018 09:18 GMT
Video shows false emergency alert warning of a ballistic missile in Hawaii

Donald Trump is yet to issue a public response to an emergency alert warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack which was mistakenly sent to Hawaii‘s residents.

Instead, in his first public comments since the blunder, the US President took to Twitter to attack “fake news” for promoting the “mentally deranged author” Michael Wolff and his “fake book” Fire and Fury.

Mr Trump has also been criticised for wrapping up a round of golf at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, while panicked Hawaiians scrambled to find shelter.

The emergency alert, sent to mobile phones and aired on TV and radio shortly after 8am local time, said: “EMERGENCY ALERT BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

State officials and the US military’s Pacific Command confirmed there was no actual threat to the state, but Hawaiians waited for nearly 40 minutes while the agency struggled to retract the warning.

Hawaii ballistic missile alarm was due to someone 'pressing the wrong button'

Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, said Mr Trump was briefed by aides and said the message was ”purely a state exercise.”

There was no military response around the President because the military detected no actual threat, a senior administrative official told Politico.

The source also said Mr Trump’s cabinet had yet to test formal plans for how to respond to a missile attack.

“Thank God the President was playing golf,” Patrick Granfield, the Pentagon’s former strategic communications director under Barack Obama, tweeted after officials declared the alert was false.

Colonel Morris Davis, a former Pentagon official, attacked the President for continuing ”his round of golf in Florida on his 120th taxpayer funded vacation day in less than a year” as Hawaiians ”braced for a ballistic missile strike”.

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, has repeatedly threatened to unleash his country's growing missile weapon capability against the US, prompting Mr Trump to warn of tough action against Pyongyang, including "fire and fury."

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