Even the White House stenographers couldn’t keep up with all the back and forth, it seems.
The White House office charged with transcribing all of Donald Trump’s public remarks corrected on Wednesday the transcript of the President’s freewheeling, hour-long immigration meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers a day earlier after omitting a key portion of Trump’s remarks.
The White House released a corrected transcript on Wednesday morning that showed Trump initially agreed to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s request to back a “clean” bill that would restore the DACA protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.
“Yeah, I would like — I would like to do that,” Trump said, a sentence that was omitted from the original transcript.
The comment was a notable moment in the back-and-forth between Trump and the bipartisan group of lawmakers and caused House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to jump in and make clear to Trump that a “clean” DACA bill would not address border security or other immigration issues Trump and Republicans hope to include in DACA-related legislation.
The White House rejected any suggestion that the line — which the President said in full view of news cameras he allowed to witness the meeting — was intentionally omitted or struck from the record.
“Transcripts of the President are released as prepared by career employees in the White House stenographer’s office. The press office does not tamper with official transcripts, and corrects errors as needed,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said.
Transcripts are considered the official record of the President’s comments — and historians and reporters rely on the transcripts for their work.
White House stenographers are not political appointees and several current White House stenographers were also employed by the White House during President Barack Obama’s administration. The stenographers were officially put on the federal government payroll in 2014 when the Obama administration ended a system in which stenographers were employed independently as government contractors.
A source familiar with the matter told CNN the stenographer who attended the meeting did not hear Trump’s comment because it came during a moment of crosstalk between Trump and the lawmakers at the table. White House stenographers do not use long boom mics used by TV networks to capture sound, instead using smaller microphones known as “shotgun mics,” which are not as efficient at capturing crosstalk.
The corrected transcript still included several errors during moments when several people around the table talked over each other or quickly interjected.
For example, the latest version of the transcript incorrectly attributed a comment made by the President to McCarthy and omitted a sentence McCarthy said during the back and forth with Feinstein.
And neither version of the transcript mentioned McCarthy correcting Trump’s understanding of Feinstein’s comments, saying, “No, no, I think she’s saying something different, I think.”
This isn’t the first time the White House has issued official statements with errors. The official schedule for the President issued Tuesday night included “Normay” instead of “Norway.” The White House also misspelled the word “opioid” on a live stream screen and Sen. Thom Tillis’ name was misspelled in a press release.
Trump’s Twitter included writing the word “consensual” — instead of “consequential” — in a series of tweets quoting conservative columnist Michael Goodwin. It was later deleted and corrected.