WH Reporter Sends Erroneous Report Trump Didn’t Read 10-Page Memo Because It Was ‘Too Lengthy’

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly / Getty Images
February 6, 2018

An incorrect White House pool report prompted outlets to falsely report that Chief of Staff John Kelly told reporters that President Donald Trump had not read a 10-page memo because it was "too lengthy."

According to a Tuesday pool report from the Dallas Morning News' Todd Gillman, "Kelly talked briefly to a few poolers and said Trump hasn't yet read the Democrats' memo but will be briefed on it later today. 'No no. It is quite lengthy,'"

The quote went viral when repeated by reporters on social media, earning write-ups in liberal outlets like ThinkProgress. Many critics zeroed in on the fact that the "lengthy" report was only 10 pages.

The quote from the pool report was also read aloud by anchors on both MSNBC and CNN. "The memo from the Democrats is ten pages long," noted MSNBC's Kay Tur.

But over an hour later, Gillman sent out another pool report indicating that he had misquoted Kelly. In his actual remarks, Kelly didn't cite the length of the memo as a reason Trump hadn't read it, but did cite the fact that he had only just gotten it.

"Has the president read the Democratic memo?" asked a reporter.

"He has it. It's pretty lengthy," Kelly responded.

It was only when asked if the president had read the whole thing that Kelly responded, "No no, I just gave it to him."

"He'll read it after this?" asked a reporter.

"Oh, of course, yeah. We'll get some people down to brief him on it," Kelly said.

A few of the reporters who spread the initial, flawed quote later issued corrections.