President Trump used his first full day in office to wage war on the media, accusing news organizations of lying about the size of his inauguration crowd as Saturday’s huge protests served notice that a vocal and resolute opposition would be a hallmark of his presidency.
With Americans taking to the streets in red and blue states alike to emphatically decry a president they consider reprehensible and, even, illegitimate, Trump visited the Central Intelligence Agency for a stream-of-consciousness airing of grievances — including against journalists, whom he called “the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”
Shortly thereafter, press secretary Sean Spicer addressed the media for the first time from the White House, where he yelled at the assembled press corps and charged it with “sowing division” with “deliberately false reporting” of Trump’s inauguration crowd.
Trump claimed that the crowd for his swearing-in stretched down the Mall to the Washington Monument. It did not. Trump accused television networks of showing “an empty field” and reporting that he drew just 250,000 people to witness Friday’s ceremony.
“It looked like a million, a million and a half people,” Trump said. “It’s a lie. We caught [the media]. We caught them in a beauty.”
During his 2009 inaugural address, President Obama’s crowd extended that far, and a side-by-side comparison of aerial photos from both inaugurations clearly shows that Obama’s crowd was much larger than Trump’s.
Spicer echoed his boss’s assertion about the inauguration, insisting from behind the podium at the White House press briefing room that more than 700,000 people stretched down the Mall to the Washington Monument.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said, less than a minute after declaring that “no one had numbers” because the National Park Service, which controls the Mall, does not release crowd estimates.
One verifiable number that Spicer offered was that ridership on Washington’s subway system on Friday was higher than for Obama’s inauguration four years ago. Spicer said that 420,000 people rode Metro on Friday, while only 317,000 did so for Obama in 2013. Both of these numbers are inaccurate. Nearly 571,000 people rode on Friday, and 782,000 rode on Inauguration Day four years ago, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Spicer warned journalists that they are in for more sparring with the new administration. “There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable, and I’m here to tell you that it goes two ways,” he said. “We’re going to hold the press accountable as well.”
According to the WaPo, Spicer finished and left the room without taking any questions. Why does the Trump administration do this? What is to be gained from going to war with the press? Numbers can be verified. Spicer lied.
What difference does it really make? Why is Trump competing with Obama? Obama has left office. Trump needs to establish his own way.
To make matters worse Trump and Pence trotted over to the CIA. I would think they would want to make nice with our intelligence agency, after insulting them for 3 months. That was not to happen. Trump stood in front of the CIA wall where those who have given their lives in service are honored and bragged on himself and touted misinformation and false statistics about his popularity and how many had attended his inauguration and today’s march. (see the full speech HERE.)
How egotistical and disrespectful. Trump needs to start making nice and showing these people with the CIA all sorts of respect and apologize profusely for his previous derogatory remarks.
The learning curve is very steep indeed. America should be ashamed of that press briefing and they should be ashamed of how the president talked to the CIA. Another stumble right out of the gate.