On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did something she’s done plenty of times before. She told a lie. But what followed was wholly unfamiliar. Sanders issued a correction and an apology.
The statement in question came during a Tuesday press briefing and concerned the number of jobs created for black Americans under Presidents Obama and Trump.
“When President Obama left after eight years in office — eight years in office — he had only created 195,000 jobs for African Americans,” Sanders said as she defended Trump against racism charges. “President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years.”
That’s not true. During Obama’s eight years in office, black employment rose by 3 million jobs, compared to 700,000 jobs in the first 18 months of Trump’s presidency. The inaccuracy was quickly called out by many in the media and by Tuesday night, the White House Council of Economic Advisers took the blame, citing a “miscommunication” for the error. Sanders followed that with a correction and an apology.
The mea culpa is notable for just how rare it is. New York’s Olivia Nuzzi observed that Tuesday’s correction was just the second tweeted by a White House press secretary since the beginning of the Trump administration. The other time was to correct the timing of the swearing in of former VA Secretary David Shulkin.