Donald Trump’s controversial press secretary has defended his claim that record numbers watched the president’s inauguration – saying “sometimes we disagree with the facts”.
In a statement delivered to the media on Saturday at at so-called press briefing where he never took questions, Sean Spicer accused the media of “deliberate false reporting” over reports that showed the number of people attending Mr Trump inauguration was considering fewer than that of Barack Obama in 2009.
“Yesterday, at a time when our nation and the world was watching the peaceful transition of power ... some members of the media were engaged in deliberate and false reporting,” he said.
Launching into a lengthy explanation over photos on which appeared to show swathes of empty space at the ceremony on social media, he added: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period. Both in person and around the globe.”
On Monday, at a press conference at the White House where for the first time he took questions, Mr Spicer defended his remark that it was the “the total largest audience … witnessed in person and around the globe”.
He also said that he wanted to have a healthy relationship with the White House press corps, he said “sometimes we may disagree” about facts.
“If we make a mistake, we’ll do our best to correct it,” he said. He said that negative media coverage was “demoralising”.
Mr Spicer took a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta – a reporter from whom Mr Trump refused to take a question and accused of “fake news” – about the crowd size controversy.
“It’s not just about the crowd size… there’s this constant attempt to question this enormous support he has. I think it is important. He has gone out there and defied the odds time and time again,” he said.
“There’s a frustration when there’s this overall narrative … Over and over again, there’s this attempt to undermine his credibility and the movement he represents.”
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