A White House press release sent to reporters today contained a paragraph identical to a paragraph in an ExxonMobil press release, published an hour before.
The White House release, titled “President Trump Congratulates Exxon Mobil for Job-Creating Investment Program,” applauded the company for new oil refining and chemical manufacturing developments along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.
Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham noticed the identical paragraph in both releases.
The paragraph included in both the White House press release and the Exxon release read as follows. The only difference is the word “expansion,” bolded below, which appears only in the Exxon release:
“ExxonMobil is strategically investing in new refining and chemical-manufacturing projects in the United States Gulf Coast region to expand its manufacturing and export capacity. The company’s Growing the Gulf expansion program consists of 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects at proposed new and existing facilities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.”
Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is the former CEO of ExxonMobil.
The incident bears resemblance to the time former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt received a letter from an oil and gas company opposing federal effort to limit methane gas leaking from drilling operations, and then copied and pasted it onto his own letterhead and sent it to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is currently the EPA administrator.