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White House corrects Trump's tweet about Guantanamo detainees, sort of

 (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did something Tuesday he doesn’t often do from the briefing room podium: correct the president.

The subject was President Trump’s tweets about terrorism suspects released from the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Trump attacked over the number of detainees that he said were released during the Obama administration and again took up militancy.

But the figure was inaccurate. Of 182 detainees transferred during the Obama administration, just eight were confirmed to have reengaged — or just over 4%, according to data updated Tuesday from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Under former President George W. Bush, 113 of the 532 detainees transferred out of Guantanamo, or more than 21%, returned to fighting.

“Obviously the president meant in totality the number that had been released,” Spicer said when asked if the White House would correct the president’s comments. “That is correct.”

Longstanding White House policy, carried over from the transition period and the campaign before it, was to respond to questions about the president’s social media postings by saying only some variation of, “The tweet speaks for itself.”

>> 'The tweet speaks for itself' could become a Trump administration motto

And while Spicer somewhat timidly acknowledged a misstep, the original tweet posted to Trump’s personal account and a second version posted an hour later to his official White House account remained online and had been retweeted at both accounts more than 22,000 times.

The origin of Trump's tweet appeared to be a segment on "Fox & Friends," the Fox News morning show that has long been a favorite of the Republican. The segment made no distinction between the number of detainees who had reengaged under the Bush and Obama administrations.

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