On Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer opened an update on the president’s activities with a lecture on the “proper use of Twitter” for the media, and an extended rant about attendance numbers for yesterday’s inauguration ceremony. He did not mention today’s worldwide women’s marches, and he did not take any questions from the assembled press.
“Yesterday, at a time when our nation and the world was watching the peaceful transition of power,” Spicer said, “some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting.” Spicer claimed that, “photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that gathered on the National Mall.” (It’s not clear which tweet he was referring to, but plenty of photographic evidence indicated a low turnout for Trump’s inauguration.)
Spicer went on to say that for the first time in history, floor coverings were used to protect the Malls’ grass, which he claimed “had the effect of highlighting any area where people were not standing.” (CNN’s Ashley Killough points out that similar coverings were used at the 2013 inauguration.)
“Fencing and magnetometers,” Spicer also claimed, prevented many people from getting onto the Mall. According to CNN White House correspondent, the Secret Service disputed that claim.
Spicer also chastised the press for reporting on the relatively low number of people who attended the inauguration, by yelling “no one had numbers.” He then stated falsely that Trump drew the largest inauguration crowd in history. “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer lied. A side-by-side photographic comparison by CNN shows that Obama’s 2009 inauguration drew a larger crowd than Trump’s.
Many members of the media are understandably finding it very difficult to report on this press conference in a straightforward manner.
Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for George W. Bush, was watching, too:
Informal tallies of today’s global woman’s march place the turnout at more than 2.5 million.