Trump accuses media of lying about inauguration crowd size.

Trump Accuses Media of Lying About Inauguration Crowd Size During Bughouse CIA Speech

Trump Accuses Media of Lying About Inauguration Crowd Size During Bughouse CIA Speech

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Jan. 21 2017 5:55 PM

Trump Accuses Media of Lying About Inauguration Crowd Size During Bughouse CIA Speech

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President Donald Trump speaks at the CIA headquarters on Saturday in Langley, Virginia.

Olivier Doulier/Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump went to the CIA on his first full day as president in what was supposed to be a symbolic gesture after his harsh criticism of the intelligence community over the past few months. The president may have spent the run-up to the inauguration criticizing the work of the nation’s intelligence agencies, but on Saturday he knew just who to blame for what he characterized as a misrepresentation of his views: the dishonest media.

“As you know, I have a running war with the media, they are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth and they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community,” Trump said as people could be heard clapping on the sidelines. “And I just want to let you know … it is exactly the opposite.” The truth is, he said, that “I am with you 1,000 percent.”

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While standing in front of a wall that honors CIA agents who have been killed in the line of duty, Trump then went on to flat out lie about the size of the crowd at his inauguration and accuse the media of misrepresenting the facts to make him look bad. The president said the crowd “looked honestly like a million-and-a-half people,” falsely adding that “it went all the way back to the Washington Monument.” But instead of the crowds, the media showed “an empty field and it said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad, but it’s a lie,” Trump said. Later, his press secretary, Sean Spicer, took it further and said Trump had the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period.”

In a bizarre tangent, Trump also said that he got these great crowd numbers despite the fact that it was “almost raining” that should have kept people away. “God looked down and said, ‘We are not going to let it rain on your speech.’ ”

From a general attack on the press, Trump then got specific and berated a Time magazine journalist by name for writing an inaccurate eport claiming Trump had removed the Martin Luther King Jr. bust from the Oval Office. “So Zeke from Time magazine writes the story,” Trump said. “But this is how dishonest the media is.” (The reporter has already publicly apologized.) And then the president went on to brag about the number of times he has been on the cover of Time.

Throughout Trump’s speech people could be heard clapping although in the video it didn’t seem the people sitting in front of the president were the ones cheering. And indeed, the press pool report noted that it was people standing on the side who were clapping. There were, however, some reports that CIA staffers were among those clapping.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.