In a direct one-two punch, President Donald Trump and his top spokesman at the White House accused the news media of “intentionally false reporting” to the American people about the size of the crowd at Friday’s Inauguration in Washington, D.C.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an Inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to reporters in the White House Briefing Room, though he offered no numbers or evidence to back up his assertion, as he bitterly complained that the press had distorted turnout in the nation’s capital on Friday.
Spicer did not specifically say which news organization he believed had wrongly sent out photos of the Trump crowd, but there were many such comparisons – like this graphic from the Associated Press, which clearly showed that Friday’s crowd – while very big – was the not the largest ever for an Inauguration:
And colleagues of mine who were covering the Trump Inauguration also were well down the mall – in those areas covered with the white plastic.
Spicer also denounced a mistaken tweet by Zeke Miller of Time Magazine, who wrongly said that Mr. Trump’s team had removed a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior from the Oval Office. Miller apologized, but that did not wash with Spicer.
“This was irresponsible and reckless,” Spicer said.
Earlier in the day, in a speech at the CIA, President Trump also took issue with the press coverage of his Inauguration crowd.
“It looked like a million, a million and a half people,” Mr. Trump complained.
“They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there,” the President said, arguing that it was a misrepresentation of the actual event.
Mr. Trump also accused the news media of wrongly reporting that he had a feud with the Intelligence Community, as he told workers at the CIA, it wasn’t so.
“The reason you’re the number one stop is it is exactly the opposite,” the President said.
But if you go back in Mr. Trump’s own tweets, he expressed his displeasure at times with the Intelligence Community, especially over reports of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
As for Spicer’s statement from the briefing room, he took no questions from reporters.