President Donald Trump's senior advisers defended White House attacks on the news media and incorrect claims about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, accusing news organizations Sunday of trying to undermine Trump's legitimacy.
The brash billionaire and his chief spokesman launched a startling assault on the media on Saturday, Trump's first full day in office, accusing reporters of downplaying the turnout at his swearing-in ceremony. I don't think that- I don't think ultimately presidents are judged by crowd sizes at their inauguration.
Photographs showed large areas on the mall without people, a fact made apparent by white flooring used to protect grassy areas.
"Photographs of the 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 on January 21.
"Apology accepted", Spicer tweeted, and later, he added this admonishment: "A reminder of the media danger of tweet first check facts later".
"We had a massive field of people. From the media tent to the Washington Monument, there's another 250,000 people".
And he reiterated his low opinion of the media, describing reporters "among the most dishonest human beings on earth". Around 74 percent of Americans say they want Trump to release his tax returns, including 49 percent of his own supporters.
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Metal detectors slowed people's arrival to the mall, he said. During President Trump's inauguration, only 570,557 one way tickets were purchased.
Photographs and data from Washington's subway system also indicate that Saturday's Women's March on Washington, a protest against Trump's presidency, outdrew the inauguration.
On Saturday, Metro reported ridership of 275,000 at 11 a.m.as it struggled to handle the crowd converging on downtown Washington for the protest march.
The Trump administration could take solace in Nielsen estimates of TV viewership for the inauguration. It appeared to be more people than attended Mr Trump's inauguration on Friday, but there were no comparable numbers.
He said that floor coverings highlighting empty spaces on the National Mall were not used for previous inaugurations, but these were in place for Obama's 2013 inauguration.
And that is the point that Fallon blasted Spicer over - that he didn't have the integrity to refuse to communicate obvious falsehoods to the press.