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Trump was obsessed with which way Hurricane Florence was spinning ‘like a 3rd grader’, says official

Mr Taylor is endorsing Joe Biden for president in November

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 20 August 2020 12:14 BST
Former DHS Chief says Trump lost focus 'like a 3rd-grader' during hurricane briefing

Former US Department of Homeland Security Chief Miles Taylor claimed Donald Trump was unfocused during security briefings, likening him to a distracted elementary school student.

During an interview on CNN, Mr Taylor recounted a story about an interaction with Mr Trump during which he claimed the president became fascinated by the way hurricanes spin rather than staying focused on the potential damage and loss of life the storm could cause if the White House did not act.

The former DHS chief said the interaction occurred during a 2018 briefing.

"We had Hurricane Florence bearing down on the United States, it was coming towards the Carolinas on the coast," he said. "We were briefing the president on the damage we expected and also our concerns about significant loss of life if he didn't tell Americans to evacuate."

Mr Taylor said initially he thought the president was intently studying the storm, and described him studying a foam board where pictures of the hurricane and its projected path were hanging.

"Then he turned to me and said 'I've got a question' ... 'do the hurricanes always spin this direction?'" Mr Taylor said. "He meant counter clockwise, that's called the Coriolis effect."

He claimed the president then followed up asking if that was why water in Australian toilets flow opposite of those in the US.

"This is what the president was focused on. Americans were on the path of a deadly hurricane, he needed to get out there and tell them to evacuate, and he was just marvelled at the way that hurricanes spin, in a way that a third grader might learning about earth science," Mr Taylor said. "This is the president that we're talking about to keep us safe."

Mr Taylor - now employed by Google - was formerly a major ally of Mr Trump. He helped form the policies that led to Mr Trump's migrant child separation policy at the border. Mr Taylor attempted to distance himself from the policy in a Washington Post op-ed he wrote earlier this week. He recently took a leave of absence from Google so he can campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden prior to the 2020 US election.

In recent days, Mr Taylor has made the cable news circuit telling damning tales of his time working in the Trump White House.

Mr Taylor has appeared in an anti-Trump campaign ad.

"What we saw - week in and week out, after two and a half years in that administration - was terrifying," Mr Taylor said in the ad. "The president wanted to exploit the Department of Homeland Security for his own political purposes and to fuel is own agenda."

Mr Taylor also claimed that Mr Trump withheld funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency meant to relieve Californians struggling in the fallout of the wildfires because the state didn't support his political agenda.

On Tuesday, the former DHS chief claimed that - should Mr Trump win a second term - he will "align with dictators around the world."

"There are people serving very close to the President that have told me verbatim we should expect, quote, 'shock and awe' if the President wins a second term. You will see a flurry of executive orders. You will see the President pull out of foreign alliances. You will see the President align with dictators around the world," he said.

He said US security would be substantially worse and relationships with allies frayed even further during Mr Trump's second term.

"And if right now we're less safe because we have fewer friends and stronger enemies than before you can expect to see that on steroids in another four years of the Trump administration," he said.

Mr Trump attacked Mr Taylor on Twitter, calling him a "disgruntled employee" and a "stiff."

"Many thousands of people work for our government. With that said, a former DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE named Mile Taylor, who I do not know (never heard of him), said he left & is on the open arms Fake News circuit. Said to be a real "stiff". They will take anyone against us!" he wrote.

Mr Taylor said he isn't a Democrat, but that he is endorsing Mr Biden.

"Even though I'm not a Democrat and disagree on key issues, I'm confident that Joe Biden will protect the country and I'm confident that he won't make the same mistakes as this president," Mr Taylor said.

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