Over crowd estimates?! Really?!

Sean Spicer at the podium for his very first press briefing
Sean Spicer, the newly-minted White House press secretary, gives his first press briefing in an ill-fitting suit

| Trump just declared war on the press. On Saturday he sent his press secretary out to excoriate the press for deliberately mis-reporting the number of people who had attended his inauguration.

What really got Trump's goat was the accurate observation that his inauguration was more sparsely attended than Obama's first inauguration. Spicer was directed to say that Trump had drawn "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration," a claim that was obviouosly and demonstrably false. One only had to look at comparable photos taken at the two events to see the truth of the reporting.

Trump inauguration
Trump inauguration, 2017, seen from the Washington Monument
Obama inauguration
Obama inauguration, 2009, seen from the Washington Monument. Obviously more people.

So, who you gonna believe? Trump? Or your own eyes? But that didn't stop Spicer from making a series of false claims during his harangue, and he took no questions at the end.

This morning Trump sent his chief enabler, Kellyanne Conway, out to the Sunday morning shows to double down. In a notable exchange with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, Conway told Todd, "You’re saying it’s a falsehood. Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts."

"Alternative facts? Alternative facts?" sputtered Todd. "Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods." Bless Todd's heart: he stuck with her and repeatedly told her she was not answering the question, and repeated it.

We're going to see a whole lot more of this. Lying is to Trump as breathing. And when he is called out on a lie he always doubles down and attacks. His idea of a fair press is one that fawns over him and accepts every word as gospel truth. It is going to be an epic struggle over the next four years as the press tries not to succumb to Trump's alternate reality and remain in touch with reality as the rest of us know it.

Meanwhile, protest marches against Trump took place in every state of the union and in many countries around the world. For sure, these nettled Trump as well, especially since every indication is that attendance was even higher than at his inauguration. And there is nothing Trump likes less than being upstaged.

The New York Times published diagrams showing areas of highest crowd density at the three events: Trump's inauguration, Obama's inauguration, and the Women's March on Washington. The results will not please Trump.

Trump inauguration
Trump's inauguration
March
Women's march
Obama inauguration
Obama inauguration

Saturday Night Live chose to feature a bare-chested Putin reassuring the American people: "You are worried that your country is in the hands of this unpredictable man. But don't worry. It's not." Russia would look after the US, said the faux-Putin, "It's the most expensive thing we've ever bought."

And we're off!

Update: Sean Spicer has become a meme!

The question is, How long will Sean Spicer continue to let Donald Trump make him a laughingstock?

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Last updated on Jan 24, 2017

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