White House says false ballistic missile threat was 'purely a state exercise' in Hawaii

The White House appeared to distance itself from a colossal mix-up that resulted in a false alert being sent out in Hawaii warning of an impending ballistic missile threat. 

President Donald Trump was on his golf course at the Mar-a-Lago luxury resort in Florida when the situation unfolded. The White House deputy press secretary, Lindsay Walters, released a statement afterward saying Trump had been made aware of the situation. 

"The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii's emergency management exercise," the statement said. "This was purely a state exercise."

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Social reactions to Hawaii's false alarm ballistic missile alert
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Social reactions to Hawaii's false alarm ballistic missile alert

**Click through the following slides to see how people reacted to the false alarm ballistic missile alert in Hawaii**

(REUTERS/Hugh Gentry)

You need to know the story of KAL-007, a Korean airliner shot down in 1983, to understand why those 38 minutes in H… https://t.co/ZJibpcgoHH
This was my phone when I woke up just now. I'm in Honolulu, #Hawaii and my family is on the North Shore. They were… https://t.co/PNzlvH18sz
So sorry for all the people in Hawaii who went through that — we know someone who’s there with her family. Crying i… https://t.co/koYJPZemis
I woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live. It was a false alarm, but a real psychic warning. If we… https://t.co/GuqRCIALgG
We often forget -- and shouldn't -- that Hawaii, though thousands of miles from the continental US, is very much pa… https://t.co/LIsXzrpzQl
Who is being fired for mistakenly sending out an emergency alert of an incoming ICBM headed towards Hawaii? What if… https://t.co/YRM3WoaV2N
Footage of children entering storm drains in Hawaii after the false incoming missile alert https://t.co/qttVDn7dXu via @NatsecPack
In a world where unstable leaders wield weapons of mass destruction, Hawaii is a wake up call. Nuclear buttons and… https://t.co/cE2bW3nLqJ
The missile launch warning also went out over TV in Hawaii. Note how it directly states “US PACOM has detected a mi… https://t.co/2pB9vnYHR3
Hawaii missile alerts were a false alarm, a human error. Thank God. A real threat: Trump is unstable and cavalier.… https://t.co/lsGimQNyd8
I really can’t imagine how terrifying those minutes must have been for the people of Hawaii this morning
legit thought I was about to die in hawaii. at a goddamned doubletree.
Hawaii's nuke alert button guy. https://t.co/27gYUGYKNa
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The White House said Trump was meeting with Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative, on Saturday. It came as officials quickly worked to reassure the public that an alert sent to people's phones in the state was a false alarm.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted, "NO missile threat to Hawaii." An official from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the agency in charge of providing aerospace warnings in North America, told BuzzFeed News that there was "absolutely no incoming ballistic missile threat" and that they were working to find out why the first alert was sent. 

A second alert went out about 45 minutes later. 

"There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False alarm," the message said.

 

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