On Friday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany unwittingly exposed President Donald Trump’s bank account and routing information when she held up a check signed by the president.
As The New York Times reports, every quarter Trump announces which organization will receive his donated $100,000 salary. In the past, the money has gone to causes that battle drug and alcohol abuse, to build a wall along the southern border of the United States, and to assist veterans.
McEnany announced that this quarter’s check is being given to the Department of Health and Human Services. The money is to be used to help fight the novel coronavirus in the United States.
President @realDonaldTrump made a commitment to donate his salary while in office. Honoring that promise and to further protect the American people, he is donating his 2019 Q4 salary to @HHSGov to support the efforts being undertaken to confront, contain, and combat #Coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/R6KUQmBRl1
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) March 3, 2020
But as she held the $100,000 check aloft to illustrate the president’s generosity, she also showed off the account and routing number printed on the check from Capital One.
It’s not entirely clear if the check may have been a prop, rather than the actual check, but if it is, it could expose Trump to malicious actors attempting to gain access to his money or information. One expert said that this is why people often use comically-oversized prop checks since there is no risk of revealing personal information.
One individual with knowledge of the situation said that they don’t typically use prop checks in press conferences.
While neither Trump nor McEnany has commented on the possible error, White House spokesman Judd Deere blasted the media for focusing on the detail rather than the president’s donation.
“Today his salary went to help advance new therapies to treat this virus, but leave it to the media to find a shameful reason not to simply report the facts, focusing instead on whether the check is real or not,” he said.
Eva Velasquez, who leads the Identity Theft Resource Center, warned that people should use caution not to expose their personal details in public.
“It’s not a best practice to share that information publicly,” said Eva Velasquez, the president and chief executive of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “If you don’t have protections in place, there are sophisticated schemes and ways someone could access those funds knowing the account and routing number and the individual person it belongs to.”
She added, however, that Trump is unlikely to be hacked as a result of the exposure because banks usually place additional protections on high-profile accounts. Still, she says, it sets a bad example for others.
Trump spent Friday at the White House welcoming a group of over a dozen veteran bikers.