Size matters to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

size matters to white house press secretary sean spicer 2017 images

President Donald Trump said earlier in the week that he start his new job on Monday, but he’s been busy creating press while the Women’s March On Washington has shown its force.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is showing America that size matters to both him and Trump as he created ‘facts’ that could easily be refuted simply by checking out publicly available figures. Spicer came out of the box in his first press conference defending the size of the inauguration crowd and blasting the media for ‘deliberate false reporting’ on those numbers.

Yesterday at a time when our nation and the world watched the peaceful transition of power …some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting,” he said. Spicer took issue with a tweet from a reporter, whom he did not name, who posted about the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. being removed from the Oval Office—something Spicer flatly denied.

“Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way…to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall,” Spicer said.

donald trump inauguration crowd vs womens march on dc crowd 2017
Donald Trump Inauguration Crowd on Left – Women’s March On Washington on Right

He blamed the protective covering on the grass that created “defective highlighting” and made the crowd appear smaller than it was in actuality. He called reporting of numbers of crowd size “inaccurate,” and said the National Park Service doesn’t put any out.

Yet according to figures issued by Washington’s transit authority, Metro ridership during Friday’s inauguration was the lowest since at least 2005, according to figures provided to The Washington Post. By 11 am Eastern, approximately 193,000 trips had been taken on the Metro, compared to 513,000 trips at the comparable time in 2009.

Additionally, the grass was covered during Obama’s second installation ceremony in January 2013, with media reports and pictures taken at the time showing the lawn at the National Mall covered by protective panels.

That said, Spicer still insisted that the inauguration crowd was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period, both in person and around the globe.”

However, Nielsen ratings data showed that an estimated 31 million Americans watched the transfer of power. That figure was also lower than Barack Obama‘s first inauguration in 2009 when an estimated 38 million watched, and below the record 41 million that watched Ronald Reagan take his oath of office.

The tone of the statement was noted immediately by observers, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans.

“This is called a statement you’re told to make by the president,” tweeted Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush’s first press secretary. “And you know the president is watching.”

“It is embarrassing, as an American, to watch this briefing by Sean Spicer from the podium at the White House,” tweeted conservative commentary William Kristol, a leader of the conservative “Never Trump” movement. “Not the RNC. The White House.”

8:10 p.m.

The White House has edited first lady Melania Trump‘s official bio to remove a reference to the QVC shopping network.

When posted Friday, the White House website said the former model had launched her jewelry collection – Melania Timepieces & Jewelry – on the online and TV retailer in 2010.

A spokesperson for the first lady says the website was updated later Friday out of “an abundance of caution” to remove the name of her jewelry line.

The White House says the jewelry line is currently not available for sale.

Ethical questions have been raised about the business dealings of President Donald Trump and some of his family members.

The White House also says a reference in the bio to Melania Trump’s success as an entrepreneur is factual, and not an endorsement.

6:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s press secretary is declaring that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience in history “both in person and around the globe.”

Sean Spicer insists that, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”

Spicer offers no evidence to support the claim. It is not known how many people watched the ceremony on television around the globe. In the U.S., Nielsen estimates 31 million viewers watched TV coverage, but that’s less than Barack Obama’s and Ronald Reagan’s first inaugurations.

On the ground in Washington, crowds on Friday were noticeably smaller than those of some previous inaugurations.

Spicer convened reporters at the White House during Trump’s first full day in office to accuse them of engaging in “deliberately false reporting.” He’s claiming that photographs of the inauguration were intentionally framed in a way to minimize the crowd.

Photos of the National Mall make clear that the crowd did not extend to the Washington Monument, as it did for the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama.

6 p.m.

President Donald Trump will meet with his first foreign leader as president on Friday: British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Trump has also scheduled a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto later this month.

The two are scheduled to meet on Jan. 31 to discuss trade, immigration and security.

Trump has proposed building a wall along the southern border and insists that Mexico will pay for it.

Trump and Peña Nieto met in Mexico City during Trump’s campaign.

Spicer also says Trump spoke on Saturday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and plans to set up meetings in the coming days.

5:15 p.m.

Nielsen estimates that 31 million viewers watched TV coverage of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

That’s better than Barack Obama’s second inauguration but well short of his first.

The most-watched inauguration since 1969 was President Ronald Reagan’s first oath-taking in 1981, which was seen by 41.8 million people.

The audience total measures continuous coverage by 12 broadcast and cable networks.

In 2013, 20.6 million viewed Obama’s second inauguration. His first inauguration, in 2009, was seen by 37.8 million people.

For Trump’s big day, NBC was the most-watched broadcast network with 5.8 million viewers, followed by ABC with 4.9 million and CBS with4.6 million.

On cable, Fox News Channel was far ahead, with 8.43 million viewers. CNN had 2.46 million and MSNBC had 1.35 million.

4:45 p.m.

Backstage photos from the black-tie inaugural balls.

A quick peek out the Truman Balcony to admire the view of Washington.

A visit to the basement White House bowling alley.

President Donald Trump’s grown children, who all spent his first night in office sleeping at the White House, have reveled in the first 24 hours of their father’s term, and they have enthusiastically documented it on social media.

Donald Trump Jr. posted a video of his wife bowling in the White House’s basement alley while Ivanka Trump shared a photo of her family riding in a presidential limousine for the inaugural parade.

The children were a constant presence at the president’s side during the inaugural festivities.

4:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing the news media of lying about the size of the crowd that attended his inauguration.

Addressing employees at CIA headquarters in Virginia, Trump wrongly said the crowd had stretched all the way to the Washington Monument in the middle of the National Mall.

Photos taken at the Mall on Friday showed large swaths of empty space compared to Barack Obama’s inauguration eight years ago.

Trump says the inauguration crowd looked to be about a million and a half people. The National Park Service doesn’t provide an official estimate, but such a figure is highly dubious. Other events that filled more of the Mall have not drawn a crowd of that size.

He says the news media will pay a “big price” for what he claims was dishonesty.

3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is telling CIA employees whose work he has publicly doubted that no one feels stronger about the intelligence community than he does.

Trump is addressing about 400 CIA employees at their headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on his first full day in office.

Trump told the workers that they are really special and amazing people and that “I am so behind you.”

The meeting follows Trump’s repeated and sharp public criticism of U.S. intelligence agencies before and after the election. He challenged and at times belittled their conclusions that Russia attempted to influence the election to help him win the White House.

2:45 p.m.

An online petition seeking the release of President Donald Trump’s full tax returns has garnered more than enough signatures to merit a White House response.

The petition was created on Inauguration Day and had more than 135,000 signatures by midday Saturday. Under rules established by former President Barack Obama, a petition needs 100,000 signatures within 30 days to get a response. It’s unclear whether Trump’s White House will respond.

The petition says the public must be aware of “unprecedented economic conflicts” by the administration, including documentation related to foreign influences and financial interests that could put Trump in violation of parts of the Constitution.

Trump has refused to release the tax returns until the IRS completes an audit. He also says journalists are the only people interested in seeing them.

2 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived at CIA headquarters in Virginia, where he’ll speak to intelligence agency workers.

The visit from the new president could be awkward.

During the campaign and after he was elected, Trump repeatedly voiced skepticism about findings by U.S. intelligence agencies – including conclusions that Russia attempted to influence the election to help him win the White House.

Trump is expected to address a group of about 300 people at the headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

1:10 p.m.

Israel’s president has congratulated President Donald Trump on his inauguration and invited him to Jerusalem.

Reuven Rivlin sent a letter Saturday, at the end of the Jewish Sabbath, and thanked Trump for being “a longstanding friend” of Israel.

Israel made great efforts to refrain from taking sides in the election. But after repeated clashes with ex-President Barack Obama, Israel’s nationalist right has high expectations for Trump.

Trump’s chosen ambassador to Israel has close ties to Jewish West Bank settlements, as does the foundation run by the family of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Tax records show Trump himself also donated money to a Jewish seminary located in a settlement.

12:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump has had some trouble with his spelling.

Trump tweeted Saturday that “I am honered to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” He misspelled “honored” by swapping in an “e” for an “o.”

The president posted the incorrectly spelled tweet at 11:57 a.m. Twelve minutes later, it was deleted and the message was re-posted, this time with the correct spelling.

Trump posted the incorrect tweet from his original @realdonaldtrump account, not his new @POTUS handle. He then posted the same message, with a photo, from the new account.

The deletion raises questions about whether a deleted Trump tweet would run afoul of the Presidential Records Act, which requires the preservation of presidential communications.

11:25 a.m.

The State Department says the American ambassador to Kazakhstan will represent the United States at international talks on Syria set for Monday in the Kazakh capital.

The talks are being sponsored by Russia and Turkey. The invitation for the U.S. to be an observer came from Russia’s ambassador in Washington in a telephone call with Michael Flynn, the new White House national security adviser.

That call took place on Dec. 29 – the same day the Obama administration levied sanctions on Russia in relation for election-related hacking in the 2016 White House campaign.

The talks are seen as a prelude to a new round of U.N.-led negotiations in Geneva next month between the Syrian government and the opposition.

The U.S. envoy in Kazakhstan is George Krol, a career foreign service officer.

The State Department’s acting spokesman, Mark Toner, says a U.S. delegation isn’t attending because of the presidential inauguration and the “immediate demands” of the transition between the Obama and Trump administrations.

10:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is opening his first full day in office by attending a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.

Trump entered the cathedral holding hands with his wife, Melania, and took his place in the first pew alongside Vice President Mike Pence. Trump smiled and nodded to those who passed him during the procession.

The cathedral has for years hosted a prayer service for the new president. But keeping the tradition has sparked debate this year among Episcopalians opposed to Trump’s policies.

Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington wrote in a blog post that she shared “a sense of outrage at some of the president-elect’s words and actions” but also felt an obligation to welcome all people.

10:40 a.m.

The Justice Department says federal anti-nepotism laws do not prevent President Donald Trump from appointing his son-in-law to his administration.

The decision clears the way for Jared Kushner to take a post as a senior adviser.

Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka and became one of his closest advisers later in the campaign.

The Justice Department released a memo to the White House counsel Friday concluding that the president’s “special hiring authority” allows him to make the appointment to the West Wing staff.

Federal anti-nepotism laws prevent relatives from being appointed to government positions. The Trump transition team argued the laws apply to federal agencies, not White House posts.

10:10 a.m.

The Interior Department has suspended its Twitter activity.

This, after a bureau of the department – the National Park Service – retweeted a pair of posts Friday that appeared unsympathetic to President Donald Trump.

The first noted that the crowd for Trump was far smaller than the one that turned out for Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

The second pointed out that web pages about some issues, including climate change, had been removed from the White House site.

A spokesman for the National Park Service, Tom Crosson, said Saturday the retweets “were inconsistent with the agency’s approach to engaging the public.”

The spokesman says the Interior Department’s account will resume tweeting over the weekend.

8:30 a.m.

Britain’s prime minister says she’s confident President Donald Trump understands the strategic value of the NATO alliance.

Theresa May tells the Financial Times that Trump “recognized the importance and significance of NATO.”

The new U.S. president has alarmed European allies by suggesting NATO may be obsolete. He’s said alliance members must pay more for their defense and not rely so much on U.S. military contributions.

May also says she believes Britain can work out a new trade deal with the U.S.

The prime minister expects to meet Trump in Washington soon.

7:35 a.m.

It’s the first full day in office for President Donald Trump – after his first night in the White House.

And first up on his schedule: a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral.

For years, the cathedral has hosted such a service for the new president. But this year, some in the largely liberal congregation have objected to hosting it this year.

Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has written in a blog post that she shares “a sense of outrage at some of the president-elect’s words and actions” – but that she feels an obligation to welcome all people without qualification.

Later Saturday, Trump is expected to visit the CIA. Trump has been critical of intelligence officials for their assertions about Russian election hacking and about leaks about his briefings in the weeks before he was sworn in.

6:10 a.m.

The Kremlin is hoping for a constructive dialogue with President Donald Trump’s administration, but also warning that differences will remain.

President Vladimir Putin‘s spokesman tells Russian state television that it would be an “illusion” to expect that U.S.-Russian relations would be free of disagreements.

Dmitry Peskov notes the intricacy of nuclear arms control and the complexity of the situation in Syria among other challenges.

Trump’s victory has elated Russian political elites amid bitter tensions with Washington over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.

Peskov says “successful development of bilateral ties will depend on our ability to solve these differences through dialogue.”

He says Putin will call Trump soon to congratulate him.