NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - We've learned this week that the president's words matter—the exact words. Correcting a statement he made standing next to Vladimir Putin, the president told reporters he misspoke, using the word "would" instead of the word "wouldn't."
Whenever there's disagreement over what the president says, the White House has a built-in system to remedy any comment controversies.
When announcing his clarification, the president told reporters he reviewed a transcript of his remarks to see what he said. Those transcripts are put together by White House stenographers: an omnipresent contingent inside the White House that has documented every word the president says in public and to the press.
"A White House stenographer is basically a walking record," Beck Dorey-Stein said. She was a steno for five years under President Barack Obama but left after two months of President Trump.
"I left because I felt like the new administration, the Trump administration, did not respect the stenographers," Dorey-Stein told Fox 5. "They didn't use us the way we had always been utilized in the past and so there was really no role there left for me."
She said that Team Trump wasn't receptive to having folks with recorders following around the president. Also, Trump's staff regularly didn't tell the stenographers about interviews or briefings, something that had been standard practice for years.
"We were trying to explain our role and they were like 'Oh no, no, no—he doesn't like microphones near his face. We don't need recordings because we have video,'" Dorey-Stein said. "And it was just like, 'Oh, no.'"
The stenographers have worked in administrations of both parties for years and their accurate transcriptions serve both the president and the press.
"I think President Trump gives himself a lot of latitude for being able to backtrack and muddle the truth by not having a stenographer present," Dorey-Stein said.
She said she happened upon the job by replying to an ad on Craigslist to be a stenographer at a law firm. She was working five part-time jobs at the time and had no idea it would lead to what she calls a "D.C. Cinderella story."
"I actually blew off the interview because my shift at Lululemon ran late and never thought this would be amount to anything," Dorey-Stein said.
She wrote about it all in her new book From the Corner of the Oval, now a New York Times bestseller. She described the memoir as a coming-of-age story that happens to take place in Barack Obama's White House.
In the meantime, President Trump may have changed course when it comes to the stenographers. After a British newspaper correctly quoted him criticizing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, the president promised to check his own tape.
"We solve a lot of problems with the good old recording instrument," the president said last week.
And in a job where the president's every utterance has the potential to shift politics and policy, Dorey-Stein said, "What's more important than making sure that the president is quoted correctly?"
"Especially when he's talking to the press, especially about international affairs, when he's meeting with other heads of state," she added. "It's really important that we get the words just right."