Of all the embarrassing signs that a politician is trying to cozy up to a colossal corporation, whether for reasons of simple ideology or for those sweet, sweet campaign contributions, cribbing statements directly from the corporations themselves is always a standout example. And no less than the executive branch of the United States got busted for just such an offense on Monday ― the While House plagiarized Exxon while sucking up to it, in what must rank as one of the more sycophantic political salutes to big oil in recent memory. An Exxon spokesperson said it shared press release information with the White House before the announcement. A White House official tells Bustle they were excited to announce the expansion program, which they say has many different components to it. "In order to be accurate, we went straight to the source for some of our information."
It sounds a little on-the-nose, sure, but it's true. On the occasion of ExxonMobil announcing new U.S. manufacturing projects along the Gulf Coast, the White House clearly wanted to put something out lauding the multinational oil company. But the official Trump administration statement came out about half-an-hour after the company's announcement, and judging by how it turned out, it looks like somebody was running a little short on time. Time, and shame.
As displayed in a tweet from the Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham, a whole paragraph of the statement was cribbed from what ExxonMobil had already put out. Like, word-for-word. Here's the copied text:
White House press release (left) contains full paragraph copied verbatim from Exxon press release (right). pic.twitter.com/NlhoUvdqvd— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) March 6, 2017
In short, the White House has once again been dinged for someone in the administration copying another person's work. Although obviously, while embarrassing and reeking of corporate shilldom, this kerfuffle is in no way comparable to the actually consequential scandal that bubbled over in the early days of the administration ― that was when Fox News personality Monica Crowley had to abandon her national security council role over reports that she'd plagiarized swaths of one of her books, as well as her Ph.D. dissertation. A transition team spokesperson said at the time, "Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country."
This press release, by comparison, is far from as noteworthy, considering it's not even clear who was responsible for churning this statement out ― it's labeled "Office of the Press Secretary," but that doesn't mean Sean Spicer himself necessarily put it together. In any case, you can mark this one down as an embarrassing mixture of laziness and a suck-up mentality, albeit one that looks more conspicuous when you realize that the former head of ExxonMobil is now the secretary of state. What strange times we live in, no?