White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made few friends on Saturday when he blasted the press for their coverage of Donald Trump’s inauguration, and he didn’t seem all that interested in building bridges on Monday when he returned for the administration’s first official press conference.
Spicer came to the podium with a joke, telling the press pool that he was going to begin with a recap of the inauguration, but figured they had covered that enough two days prior. He said he’d sent a note to his predecessor, Josh Earnest, telling him that his status as the most popular press secretary was safe for the time being.
But if reporters expected him to apologize for the “alternative facts” he offered regarding Trump’s Washington crowd size, they were left wanting.
“Our intention is never to lie to you,” Spicer said. “You’re in the same boat: I mean, there are times when you guys tweet something out or write a story and you publish a correction. That doesn’t mean that you were intentionally trying to deceive readers and the American people, does it? And I think that we should be afforded the same opportunity.
While Spicer admitted that he had some of his figures wrong on Saturday, he stood by his assertion that Trump’s inauguration had been witnessed by a larger audience than any in history.
“It’s unquestionable,” he said. “And I don’t see any numbers that dispute that when you add up attendance, viewership, total audience in terms of tablets, phones, on television. I’d love to see any information that proves that otherwise.”
Spicer also took a quiet shot at the major news organizations by switching up the traditional order in which the press secretary calls on reporters. Instead of starting with a question from the Associated Press or the New York Times, Spicer called on the New York Post and other, smaller news outlets before getting around to the heavy hitters. No doubt, this snub hurt worse than anything Spicer could have said.
As eager as we are to move beyond this silly spat about crowd sizes, Trump and Spicer have no choice but to hold the liberal media accountable for their biases. These news organizations have made it their business to take Trump down, and that makes them the enemy. The enemy of the administration and the enemy of the 63 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump.