President Trump stepped up to the podium last Monday to read prepared remarks about the shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. Except that in the final blessings of the speech, he named Toledo instead of Dayton, a different city about 150 miles away.
While many in the media were quick to blame a staffer or a teleprompter error, as is often the case, it took a photojournalist to provide a definite answer. Leah Millis, a photographer for Reuters, tweeted out a photo that clearly showed the president’s teleprompter during the part of the speech in question:
In the text, the words “Texas and Ohio” are clearly visible with Toledo nowhere to be found.
The White House, in what seemed to be a moment of self-awareness, did make a note of the error, which seemed to be entirely on Trump, via a strikethrough in the official transcript that was released to the media later on Monday.
It’s unclear if that would have been the case if the Millis photo had not been widely circulated after the statement.
This isn’t the first time Trump has been held to account by eagle-eyed photographers. Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford has previously captured Trump’s notes about Ilhan Omar and some really egregious spelling errors in remarks about democrats in the past.
It’s a bit of a sad commentary on photojournalism today when photographers have to worry equally about capturing the moment and surreptitiously capturing the president’s notes at the same time, just to make sure that they can prove their case if the president attempts to label their reportage as “fake news.”