New York [U.S.], Mar. 11 : The Labor Department on Friday reported that the U.S. economy added a healthy 235,000 jobs in February and minutes later, President Donald Trump and Press Secretary Sean Spicer fired off celebratory tweets and retweets, violating a major federal rule.
Trump retweeted conservative website Drudge Report: "GREAT AGAIN: +235,000" and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus followed with his own congratulatory tweet.
Spicer also jumped the gun and posted a tweet from his official account. What these officials and the President seemed to be unaware was that there's a federal rule clearly stating that executive branch employees are not supposed to comment on major economic reports until an hour after they are released, reports CNN.
"Except for members of the staff of the agency issuing the principal economic indicator ... employees of the Executive Branch shall not comment publicly on the data until at least one hour after the official release time," a 1985 directive issued by the Office of Management and Budget reads.
The OMB, in issuing the rule, highlighted the need to "preserve the distinction between the policy-neutral release of data by statistical agencies and their interpretation by policy officials." However, Spicer defended the tweets at Friday's White House press briefing, saying that the jobs figures were reported online and on television right away.
"I apologize if we were a little excited, and we were so glad to see so many fellow Americans back to work.
I think that there's a lot of excitement in this country when we look at the policies that the President has instituted to help put more Americans back to work," he said.