'My bad': White House press secretary corrected in real time as she claims Amy Coney Barrett is Rhodes scholar

Madeline Roth
·2 min read
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany falsely claimed that Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is a Rhodes scholar, when she in fact attended Rhodes College. (EPA)
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany falsely claimed that Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is a Rhodes scholar, when she in fact attended Rhodes College. (EPA)

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany began her press briefing on Thursday by touting the qualifications of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. And while the conservative federal judge has a lengthy list of accolades on her resume, she is not, as Ms McEnany falsely claimed, a Rhodes scholar.

"When you said Judge Barrett was a Rhodes scholar, I don't believe that is true," a reporter noted during the briefing, just moments after the claim was made.

Ms McEnany glanced at her notes and replied, "Well, that's what I have written here."

The reporter then pointed out that Ms Barrett actually attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where she received her undergraduate degree.

"Attended Rhodes College. So, my bad," the press secretary shrugged, acknowledging her mistake.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and arguably most prestigious international scholarship program, awarded to outstanding students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford in England. The Rhodes Scholarship and Tennessee's Rhodes College have no relation to one another.

The walk-back lit up social media, with some people pointing out that Fox News made the same error while reporting on Ms Barrett's nomination last week when an on-air graphic referred to her as a "Rhodes scholar."

President Donald Trump's selection of Ms Barrett as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat came just eight days after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, and 38 days before the presidential election on November 3. Ms Barrett's confirmation hearing is set for October 12, but Democrats are fighting for a delay in the confirmation until the next president has been inaugurated.

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