WASHINGTON – White House press secretary Sean Spicer held his first news conference in the White House briefing room Saturday. His first and only order of business was ripping into the media for “deliberately false reporting” about President Trump and the inauguration.
Spicer accused a Time magazine reporter of falsely reporting, via Twitter, that President Trump had removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office.
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“This was irresponsible and reckless,” Spicer said.
The press secretary also accused the media of inaccurately representing the crowds at Trump’s inauguration.
“Photographs of that inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall,” Spicer said.
He said that this was the first time that grass covering had been laid down, so the visual it created made it look like the mall was less full than it had been in years past.
He continued, “No one had numbers because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put those out.”
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Spicer then proceeded to point to turnstile numbers from the Washington Metro, but the numbers he quoted were inaccurate. “We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama’s last inaugural.”
According to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, during Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration there were 1.1 million one way tickets. During President Trump’s inauguration, only 570,557 one way tickets were purchased.
The press secretary even went so far as to claim that President Trump’s inauguration was the largest in history.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe,” he said. “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”
However, even the television audience, at least in the United States, was smaller than Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
According to Nielsen, only 30.6 million people tuned in for the inauguration Friday. In 2009, 37.8 million watched as Obama was inaugurated.
After giving his statement, Spicer left the podium without answering any questions.