The Huffington Post, and multiple other outlets, reported yesterday that the new White House administration lied about the size of the 2017 Inauguration Day crowds. This is a popular Trump strategy: when trying to get the people and press from talking about one subject, say, Russia for example, get them to talk about something else.
It was a strategy that many believed he used recently, when he incited fury among the public by slamming civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis on Twitter. His Twitter hate against one of America’s most respected congressmen came after a week of allegations that included both of the words “Trump” and “Russia.”
— Ms B Havin (@MsBehavinMarin) January 16, 2017
This time, Trump wanted everyone to talk about the size of Inauguration Day crowds, and not, other more important things. The White House’s first press conference in the White House briefing room since Trump took the oath was on the size of Inauguration Day crowds, according to the Huffington Post.
It was not on things that actually matter to the every day lives of the American people. Instead, the first conference was on a topic directly paralleled to Trump’s ego. And the statements were inaccurate on top of all of that. It did not go unnoticed.
When we have a White House that lies about what is in photos we can all see, how can they be trusted 2 tell truth on things we can't see?
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) January 22, 2017
A President that will lie to Americans about the size of their inauguration crowd will lie to you about ANYTHING. Trump can not be trusted.
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) January 22, 2017
This kept the American people from talking about other important topics like the millions that could die without health care, like the President being speculated to have a cozy relationship with Russia, like the President violating the oath he took the same day he took it as Think Progress notes, or, like the alleged sexual assault victim that is now reportedly suing Trump for defamation of character, as BBC News reports.
BBC reported that the alleged sexual assault victim has claims that have withstood the rigors of a polygraph. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s claims on the 2017 Inauguration Day crowds, would not.
The White House strategy worked. Multiple press outlets, including the New York Times, reported that Trump’s White House spent their first full day of office lying to the American public about the size of the Inauguration Day crowds.
Trump made Sean Spicer go out and lie for him then immediately threw him under the bus. Trump administration, Day 1 https://t.co/ZxjVdJQKuj
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) January 22, 2017
It’s a strange thing to lie about. It is actually a strange thing to even talk about, when millions are wondering how they are going to get health care coverage, and if they will survive without it.
What the Trump White House doesn’t want many people to talk much about, is that before that “press conference” yesterday, and after rebuking the intelligence community, frequently, publicly, and shamelessly, Trump also spent yesterday getting cozy with the CIA. He also made some strange comments at the CIA when he did.
That meeting was followed up by the first Trump Administration White House briefing room, where, out of all topics to address the American people with, the White House discussed the size of the Inauguration Day crowds.
President Obama never talked crowd size. President Bush never compared numbers about crowd size. President Clinton never discussed how many attended his speeches. President Reagan didn’t either. No president of the history of the United States has gathered reporters together to talk about numbers at inauguration.
Because it’s not presidential to do that.
The White House Press Secretary refused to discuss anything else, in what is becoming the new “White House” style in their relationship to the press. That style appears to be, drop an incendiary statement, and then refuse further questions and scrutiny.
As The Telegraph noted, what the White House Press Secretary actually said on 2017 Inauguration crowds was, “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe. No one had numbers. Because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out.”
In other words, Sean Spicer drops inaccurate facts to the press, and then suggests, those facts are impossible to fact check, giving the tone of: “You’ll just have to take my word for it, because I’m standing behind the White House seal.”
That did not work for Sean Spicer. Greta van Susteren called his lies “gaslighting,” and Vanity Fair said Sean Spicer’s credibility is gone, on Day Two of the new White House, and Vanity Fair also called Sean Spicer “inoperative.”
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) January 21, 2017
The White House “press conference” was an extension of events earlier in the day, when Donald Trump stood in front of the CIA memorial wall of stars, and also discussed how big his 2017 inauguration crowds were, reported CNN.
CNN reported that former CIA Director John Brennan had strong feelings about Trump’s behavior at the CIA yesterday. A statement issued on behalf of former director John Brennan said the following.
“Former CIA Director Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency Heroes. Brennan says that Trump should be ashamed of himself.”
Trump later tweeted about that meeting, highlighting, not the work accomplished by those heroes, but ovations he received.
Had a great meeting at CIA Headquarters yesterday, packed house, paid great respect to Wall, long standing ovations, amazing people. WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2017
The Guardian reported that Trump’s pick to succeed John Brennan has not been confirmed yet due to Senate delays. The Democrats have reportedly expressed concerns over Congressman Mike Pompeo’s position on the use of torture. It’s not the only Cabinet selection of Trump’s that is reportedly having problems.
The Intercept reported that Trump’s education pick Betsy DeVos “repeatedly lied to the Senate” during her confirmation hearing. But Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer don’t want to talk about that.
Since Sean Spicer has been called out on these falsehoods, in other words since yesterday, some murmurs have cropped up that the Sean Spicer statements did not come from Trump himself, and that Trump is trying to distance himself from those comments.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) January 22, 2017
But, Trump himself, was at the CIA earlier that very same day, saying the same things that Sean Spicer said about the 2017 Inauguration Day crowds. CNN reported that at the CIA on Saturday, Trump got “political” and was happy to discuss how many people at the CIA voted for him. This reportedly made many in the CIA, a notably bipartisan organization and proud of it, very uncomfortable. One source had the following to say.
“We are not political in that way. Talking about whether we voted for Trump is offensive and foreign to us by the president. Many people felt used and awkward throughout. Of course there was applause, but it was uncomfortable.”
But standing in front of the CIA Memorial Wall of heroes, each marked by a symbolic CIA star that represents a CIA agent that paid the ultimate sacrifice, Trump said he was behind the CIA “1,000 percent.”
“There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. I love you. I respect you. We’re going to start winning again, and you’re going to be leading the charge.”
Trump then reportedly blamed the “dishonest media” for the rift between him and the CIA, saying he had a “running war” with the press, and accused multiple news outlets of falsely misrepresenting the 2017 inauguration crowds. After slamming the media, Trump then bragged about all of the times the media put him on the cover of TIME Magazine.
CNN reported that the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, issued a statement after the event.
“While standing in front of the stars representing CIA personnel who lost their lives in the service of their country – hallowed ground – Trump gave little more than a perfunctory acknowledgement of their service and sacrifice. He will need to do more than use the agency memorial as a backdrop if he wants to earn the respect of the men and women who provide the best intelligence in the world.”
The Trump presidency is three days in. His Cabinet picks are experiencing problems, he is allegedly being sued for defamation by an alleged sexual assault victim, he is being accused of violating his oath already, and the White House Press Secretary has been accused of “gaslighting” America, and is reported to have no credibility. And then, Russia. 2017 Inauguration Day crowds are not the biggest problem of the new White House, the subject of the crowds is just the distraction from what really matters to the every day lives of the American people.
[Feature Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]