Fact check: White House deletes misleading tweet about Social Security numbers
White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday was asked why former President Barack Obama’s 2014 tweet on Social Security numbers was a mistake. Earnest said he wasn’t aware of it.
The tweet reads in part:
“Social Security numbers. (See more at https://t.co/cY9vLQqrDf) But if you’re old enough to remember, Social Security numbers were not as we know them. (See more.)”
When that was pointed out by MSNBC, Earnest said he was mistaken and added that he would delete the tweet.
“As to the president’s tweet on Social Security numbers, well, I don’t know that it’s an example of the presidency being a one-way street, but I wasn’t aware at the time,” Earnest said.
“It’s an instance of my ignorance — what I was saying was that I don’t know whether you would remember or not,” he added.
Earnest, on MSNBC, defended the tweet: “I think it’s interesting that they’re highlighting that. It is an example of ignorance and bad judgment on the part of a former president and a former secretary of state, and an Obama campaign staffer.”
“I think it’s a great example that we don’t know how to talk about this thing. The best advice at this point is not to tweet it,” he added.
The Social Security numbers Obama tweeted were released in April, and have been called out by Republicans and some Democrats, who noted that the words “see more” in the original tweet don’t appear in Obama’s tweet on Social Security numbers.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee in June demanded the release of the full Social Security data in a letter to the director of the Social Security Administration, Thomas Kane.
In 2013, the Treasury Department was required by law to release all available Social Security data, including the Social Security numbers used