White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders apologized on Tuesday for falsely claiming during a press conference that President Trump has already created three times as many jobs for black Americans as President Obama did during his entire presidency.
The topic came up during a press conference while Sanders was addressing rumors that President Trump was recorded using the N-word while producing The Apprentice, CNN reports. Shortly after telling reporters she could not guarantee there were no such recordings, she pointed to the economy to show Trump in a more positive light.
“This is a President who is fighting for all Americans, who is putting policies in place that help all Americans, particularly African-Americans. Just look at the economy alone,” she said according to CNN.
She stated that Trump added approximately 700,000 jobs for African-American workers. According to the Washington Post, she compared this to a figure citing the Obama presidency for creating 195,000 jobs for African-Americans during his two terms.
Immediately after the briefing, news outlets began to fact check her claims. CNN reports that Bloomberg News pointed out the inaccuracy of her statement.
The Washington Post further reported official statistics that “black employment in the United States increased by nearly 3 million jobs from January 2009 through January 2017.” The 700,000 jobs reported from January 2017 through July 2018 remains true.
While it’s true that the U.S. economy has added about 700,000 jobs held by African-American workers since Trump took office, the economy added around 3 million jobs for African-Americans while Obama was in office, according to federal labor statistics.
Some outlets reported that Sanders intentionally lied. However, it seems the press secretary was simply misinformed. The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) took responsibility for the mishap, saying they had misrepresented the data to Sanders. They published new data on black job creation over Obama’s two-term presidency and compared with black job creation following Trump’s 2016 election. The agency then released a statement on Twitter apologizing for the “miscommunication.”
Sanders followed up the statement from the CEA with her own via Twitter; she apologized for the mistake saying her “timeframe” was off but issued “no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump.” She cited the number though economists “generally regard a president’s ability to shape employment trends as limited,” says the Washington Post.