At approximately 1:09pm ET, the alert went out onto mobile phones and on TV throughout Hawaii, stating that a missile strike was imminent. “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII, SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” the notification said. Coming at a time of heightened tension with North Korea, which claims to have the capability to strike the U.S., the message caused an existential crisis in Hawaii.
A full 38 minutes later, another notification went out, retracting the previous all-caps declaration. “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm,” it said.
Hawaii governor David Ige subsequently told the media that the alert went out because somebody pushed a “wrong button.”
According to reports, at the time the alarm went off, Trump was playing golf in South Florida, relatively close to his Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago. He was reportedly briefed on the situation, although the exact timing is not clear. Hours later, the White House’s deputy press secretary, Linda Walters, put out a statement describing the false alarm as “purely a state exercise.”
Nearly 24 hours later, Trump still has not publicly commented on the emergency notifications, which has led to some scrutiny.
Instead, Trump spent Saturday morning at war with the media and retweeting a conspiracy theorist. The president first attacked Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff.
So much Fake News is being reported. They don’t even try to get it right, or correct it when they are wrong. They promote the Fake Book of a mentally deranged author, who knowingly writes false information. The Mainstream Media is crazed that WE won the election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2018
He also retweeted Jack Posobiec, a right-wing provocateur who previously advanced the discredited Pizzagate conspiracy theory and reportedly planted a “RAPE MELANIA” sign at an anti-Trump protest in an effort to discredit it.
Trump choosing to voice his ire towards Wolff and the mainstream media is nothing new. He’s regularly used social media to do both in recent days, referring to Wolff as a “total loser” and his book as “boring and untruthful.” He also tweeted thanks to Fox News personality Stuart Varney for complimenting him on an episode of Fox and Friends.