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.
Much more here.
Trump can attack the media relentlessly, but the facts are still the facts. And the media will continue to ferret out the truth behind Trump’s lies.