Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said the White House had followed the same procedures as prior administrations and argued that because Trump hadn't tweeted hard numbers, he hadn't done anything wrong.
"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning", Trump tweeted at 7:21 a.m. ET.
In tweeting about the report when he did, Trump violated a long-standing prohibition against executive branch officials publicly commenting on the report before its official release or within an hour afterward.
Trump's decision to seemingly pimp out the job numbers before they were officially released is controversial because it could result in traders taking advantage on positive data that is exclusive to the executive branch.
The directive said part of the intent is to "prevent early access to information that may affect financial and commodity markets, and preserve the distinction between the policy-neutral release of data by statistical agencies and their interpretation by policy officials".
A number of USA employers, from seafood processors to hotels and restaurants, have complained that they can not fill jobs with domestic workers and were shut out of the visa process, which this year was run as a lottery for the first time rather than the usual first-come, first-served basis. The report is given to senior White House officials the day before its release but is usually closely protected. In the hours leading up to the release of future jobs reports, investors will watch carefully for clues provided by presidential tweets (or lack thereof).
More good news for the American economy: New jobs numbers show the unemployment rate is now down to 3.8 percent, the lowest it's been in 18 years.
"This is one of the most sensitive pieces of federal data and can dramatically move markets", he said on Twitter.
White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Trump's tweet.
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The gunman's motive is not yet clear, but local prosecutors have stated that terrorism is the "likely" motivation for the attack. Belgian authorities have not said if they have evidence the inmate had vowed allegiance to IS or was acting on its orders.
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Former Obama and Bush administration officials noted Trump had appeared to break the federal protocol.
Former chairman for President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman told ABC News the Obama administration "absolutely interpreted [the Labor Department rule] as applying" to the president himself.
He added that he did not want to say more that would get ahead of the curve.
Larry Kudlow, appointed in March as director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC he called Trump aboard Air Force One Thursday evening and relayed the job numbers.
Meanwhile, Kudlow said trade frictions between the United States and Canada are a "family quarrel", brushing aside concerns expressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as an overreaction.
"I don't think he gave anything away, incidentally. I think it's according to the routine".
"He chose to tweet, his tweet basically said like everybody else we await the job numbers", Kudlow said.
"Risks are brewing. with the latest round of tariffs on aluminum and steel", said Joseph Song, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Trump has, on at least one other occasion, publicly revealed the contents of a tightly held government report before its release. I wanted him to know the numbers.