Trump Administration Spends First Day Lying About Crowd Size And Attacking Reporters

The first full day of Donald Trump's Presidency consisted largely of obsessions with irrelevant facts and outright lies.

Donald Trump Shrug

On the same day that American cities, and cities around the world, were crowded with men and women protesting the incoming Administration in Washington, the Trump Administration spent its first full day in office attacking the media and arguing about the size of the crowd at Friday’s Inauguration:

WASHINGTON — President Trump used his first full day in office on Saturday to unleash a remarkably bitter attack on the news media, falsely accusing journalists of both inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies and deliberately understating the size of his inauguration crowd.

In a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency intended to showcase his support for the intelligence community, Mr. Trump ignored his own repeated public statements criticizing the intelligence community, a group he compared to Nazis just over a week ago.

He also called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” and he said that up to 1.5 million people had attended his inauguration, a claim that photographs disproved.

Later, at the White House, he dispatched Sean Spicer, the press secretary, to the briefing room in the West Wing, where Mr. Spicer scolded reporters and made a series of false statements.

He said news organizations had deliberately misstated the size of the crowd at Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Friday in an attempt to sow divisions at a time when Mr. Trump was trying to unify the country, warning that the new administration would hold them to account.

The statements from the new president and his spokesman came as hundreds of thousands of people protested against Mr. Trump, a crowd that appeared to dwarf the one that gathered the day before when he was sworn in. It was a striking display of invective and grievance at the dawn of a presidency, usually a time when the White House works to set a tone of national unity and to build confidence in a new leader.

Instead, the president and his team appeared embattled and defensive, signaling that the pugnacious style Mr. Trump employed as a candidate will persist now that he has ascended to the nation’s highest office.

Saturday was supposed to be a day for Mr. Trump to mend fences with the intelligence community, with an appearance at the C.I.A.’s headquarters in Langley, Va. While he was lavish in his praise, the president focused in his 15-minute speech on his complaints about news coverage of his criticism of the nation’s spy agencies, and meandered to other topics, including the crowd size at his inauguration, his level of political support, his mental age and his intellectual heft.

“I just want to let you know, I am so behind you,” Mr. Trump told more than 300 employees assembled in the lobby for his remarks.

In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has questioned the intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia meddled in the United States election on his behalf. After the disclosure of a dossier with unsubstantiated claims about Mr. Trump, he accused the intelligence community of allowing the leak and wrote on Twitter, “Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

On Saturday, he said journalists were responsible for any suggestion that he was not fully supportive of intelligence agencies’ work.

“I have a running war with the media,” Mr. Trump said. “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.”

“The reason you’re the No. 1 stop is, it is exactly the opposite,” Mr. Trump added. “I love you, I respect you, there’s nobody I respect more.”

Mr. Trump also took issue with news reports about the number of people who attended his inauguration, complaining that the news media used photographs of “an empty field” to make it seem as if his inauguration did not draw many people.

“We caught them in a beauty,” Mr. Trump said of the news media, “and I think they’re going to pay a big price.”

Trump’s speech at the CIA was notable because of what he had been saying about the intelligence community since the election and its conclusions regarding Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the election and, as noted above, it was initially seen as an effort by the new Administration to extend an olive branch to a part of the government that will be an important part of the new President’s decision making when it comes to foreign policy over the next four years. It was also significant because Trump spoke while standing before the Memorial Wall at the entrance to CIA headquarters, a wall which memorialized the men and women, some of them still unnamed because even their names remain classified, who have died while working for the CIA. The fact that he chose to use that opportunity to attack the media and make false claims about the size of his Inauguration Day crowd quickly came under attack from recently departed CIA Director James Brennan:

Donald Trump traveled to CIA headquarters Saturday to offer reassurance to the workforce after he spent weeks criticizing American intelligence, but his unscripted, self-referential remarks before a wall of stars memorializing fallen officers are drawing criticism, including a pointed denunciation from the agency’s recently departed director.

“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,” Nick Shapiro, a former aide to John Brennan at CIA, told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell.

Brennan, Shapiro said, believes Trump “should be ashamed of himself.”

Trump was greeted with cheers by the CIA officers who volunteered to be there to greet him on a Saturday.

But the wall of 117 stars in the CIA lobby is a revered place, and presidents who have spoken there tend to do so carefully and with a close attention to their subject — usually the sacrifices of the CIA officers and their families.

Trump expressed support for the CIA, but he also veered into political territory, denouncing the news media, boasting about the size of his inaugural crowds, and even discussing his own appraisal of his intellect.

“And then they say, ‘Is Donald Trump an intellectual?'” Trump said. “Trust me, I’m like a smart person.”

A former senior CIA officer told NBC News he was embarrassed, watching the remarks, which he called a “free-wheeling, narcissistic diatribe.”

Another former senior official noted that that early on in his remarks Trump interrupted himself as he was commenting on the stars behind him and never returned to the topic.

“Not quite a `this hallowed ground moment,'” the official said.

Former CIA Director Mike Hayden, a Republican who opposed Trump, said in an email, “I was heartened that the President gave a speech at CIA. It would have been even better if more of it had been about CIA.”

Not only after Trump spoke, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who has had a long career in Washington during which he has generally been well-respected by journalists and people on both sides of the political aisle and previously served as spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, spent what was effectively his first White House Press Briefing attacking the media and repeating his boss’s completely unsupported statements about the size of the crowd at the Inauguration:

“That’s what you guys should be writing and covering,” new White House press secretary Sean Spicer angrily lectured reporters on Saturday during his first remarks from the podium of the press briefing room.

He was referring to the delay in Senate confirmation for President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, Congressman Mike Pompeo, but the comment came after a long digression about how many people had shown up to watch Trump be sworn in as president.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said, contradicting all available data.

Aerial photos have indicated that former president Barack Obama’s first inauguration attracted a much larger crowd. Nielsen ratings show that Obama also had a bigger television audience.

Spicer said, without any evidence, that some photos were “intentionally framed” to downplay Trump’s crowd.

He also expressed objections to specific Twitter posts from journalists. And he said, “we’re going to hold the press accountable,” partly by reaching the public through social networking sites.

His statement included several specific misstatements of fact in addition to the overarching one.

“This is the first time in our nation’s history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass on the Mall,” Spicer said, claiming that this “had the effect of highlighting areas people were not standing whereas in years past the grass eliminated this visual.”

In fact, coverings were used for Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

“This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past,” Spicer said.

In fact, a United States Secret Service spokesperson told CNN, no magnetometers were used on the Mall.

And Spicer said, “We know that 420,000 people used the D.C, Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 for president Obama’s last inaugural.”

Spicer’s number for ridership on Friday was actually low — the correct number, according to Metro itself, was 570,557. But there were actually 782,000 trips taken for Obama’s second inaugural in 2013.

Spicer, at times almost yelling while reading a prepared statement, took no questions. CNNMoney called his cell phone a few minutes later; he did not answer.

Some longtime White House correspondents were stunned by the tirade.

Glenn Thrush of The New York Times wrote on Twitter, “Jaw meet floor.”

“I’ve run out of adjectives,” wrote Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post said Spicer’s assertion about “what you guys should be writing” was “chilling.”

Reactions were overwhelmingly negative, and not just from journalists.

Ari Fleischer, who had the same job as Spicer during the George W. Bush administration, tweeted, “This is called a statement you’re told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching.”

And Brian Fallon, who was in line to become press secretary if Hillary Clinton had won, wrote, “Sean Spicer lacks the guts or integrity to refuse orders to go out and lie. He is a failure in this job on his first full day.”

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol said “it is embarrassing, as an American, to watch this briefing by Sean Spicer from the podium at the White House. Not the RNC. The White House.”

As I’ve said before when there have been large public events in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, arguments over crowd size are perhaps among the silliest parts of the American political system. and yet it’s something that advocates and politicians have done on a regular basis for quite some time now. In fact, the National Park Service ended the practice of providing crowd size estimates for politically motivated events due to the manner in which they would quickly become the fodder for political argument. Despite that fact, though, advocates on both sides of the aisle continue to argue about crowd size when events such as the Inauguration or yesterday’s march are held in major American cities. The difference this time around is that the Administration’s claims are demonstrably untrue. It was false, for example, for Spicer to claim that the photographs of Obama’s Inauguration in 2009 and Trump’s on Friday were intentionally framed to make Obama’s crowd seem larger and Trump’s smaller. In reality, the photograph of the crowd from Friday had come directly from the Inaugural ceremonies committee that was largely staffed by Trump supporters and that the photograph from 2009 came from Getty Images and is a matter of historical record. Second, his claims about ridership on Washington’s Metro system, which provides the most direct access to the National Mall for events such as this and which is often used as a rough corollary to estimate crowd size, were similarly false. By 11am on Friday, just an hour before Trump took the Oath Of Office, the system says that 193,000 people had ridden the Metro that morning; this compared to the 513,000 riders the system saw in 2009 and the 317,000 it was for Obama’s Second Inaugural in 2013. In fact, the number for Trump were slightly lower than the 197,000 riders the system had by 11am on the morning of George W.  Bush’s Second Inaugural. (Source and Secondary Source) By way of contrast, the ridership numbers for yesterday’s march in Washington. D.C. far exceeded those for any Inauguration, reaching more than one million for the entire day and making Saturday the second busiest day ever. The busiest full day of ridership for Metro, incidentally, was Obama’s first Inauguration. (Source)  Even taking into account the fact that many people who attended the Inauguration may have driven in or taken chartered busses, these numbers, this would seem to make it obvious that Trump’s ceremony had a smaller audience than any since 2004  at the very least.

All of this makes yesterday’s conduct by the Administration troublesome both in and of itself and because of what it tells us about what the future is likely to portend for at least the next four years. Not only did the President and his chief spokesperson, who was no doubt acting under the direct orders of the President when he spoke last night, spend most of the first day in office talking about something as trivial as the size of a crowd on the National Mall, but they were blatantly lying in the process. President Trump started the lies with his speech at the CIA, where he claimed that he had never attacked the intelligence community even though his Twitter feed during the time the stories about Russian efforts to influence the election is full of such attacks and he had made comments critical of the CIA and other intelligence agencies while campaigning for President. That speech also included his bizarre for the location decision to attack the media over alleged misrepresentations about the Inauguration crowd size and did so on what is supposed to be solemn ground in front of a wall memorializing men and women who have died in service to their country. Then he sent out his chief spokesperson on his first day before the media to repeat those blatant lies, and add a few more, while refusing to answer any questions from the media that might have pointed out just how egregious these misrepresentations were. None of this should come as a surprise to anyone who followed Trump’s campaign, of course, but it is nonetheless troubling to see it actually happening.

As the day came to an end yesterday, I asked a question on social media:

If the answer is that we can’t, and I fear that is the direction that we’re headed, then it is going to be a long and troublesome four years indeed.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Oh, Spicer didn’t lie. At least, not according to Kellyanne Conway. He merely presented a set of “alternative facts.”

    Got that? “Alternative facts.”

  2. Mr. Bluster says:

    “All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.” I.F. Stone

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Yesterday was a disaster for Trump. He stands there and lies to the faces of CIA analysts? And thinks what, “Oh, they’re totally buying this?” He’s just smart enough to fool 46% of voters, he is not anywhere ear smart enough to fool intelligence professionals.

    On top of that he doesn’t even get basic message discipline. If you want to dismiss a march you don’t send your hostage/spokesman out to blatantly lie about it. He made the turnout the story. He forced the media to call him out as a liar. He’s actually giving the media a spine!

    46% of the American people made a very, very stupid choice. No matter how much scat the Man-Baby throws around his cage, some percentage of that 46% will in the end choose reality over lies. The 46% was in all likelihood a high water mark. Just wait till we start getting the truth about back-door dealings with Putin.

    Trump is already moving toward impeachment. The women’s march will have impressed itself on the minds of people like Marco Rubio in the Senate. What was seemingly an impossibility edged a wee bit closer to being a possibility.

  4. Terrye Cravens says:

    This morning Chris Wallace noted that he could see that the crowds were smaller himself. No doubt about it. And he said we needed to discuss Trump’s honesty. Truth is we should have been discussing Trump’s honesty a long time ago.

    He is not just a liar, he is a needy liar.

  5. Pete says:

    Can’t stand the man. He has and will lie. Do not all politicians lie? “I will close Gitmo.” “You can keep your doctor and your insurance policy if you want.” LBJ – The Gulf of Tonken Incident. Nixon – serial liar. WJC -” I did not have sex with that woman.” So, Doug, what is different about this liar? Come on, lawyers lie all the time. Give it a rest.

  6. Scott says:

    Repeat after me: Trump is a classless pig and always will be.

    I will be shocked if he grows into something resembling a President.

  7. Lit3Bolt says:

    @CSK:

    Good to see Republicans have finally embraced post-modernism. /snark

    By the way, for those Trump voters who are too dim to understand it, yesterday’s march was about the fact that a self-admitted adulterer and sexual assaulter became POTUS, and the Republican policy platform is currently taking away basic healthcare from vulnerable populations, which include (gasp) women and the disabled and minorities.

    By the way Doug, what a difference a day makes, huh? Will America survive a post-truth government?

  8. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Pete: Give it a rest? Obama did try to close Gitmo, Trump did not even attempt to be honest here and neither did his paid shills. Politicians try to pander and put the best face on things, but as a general rule they do not tell obvious gratuitous lies.

    The best Trump supporters can do when he gets caught in some craziness is deflect and lie themselves. Pathetic.

  9. Jim Brown 32 says:

    There is still validity in the angle that TRUMP DOES NOT WANT TO BE PRESIDENT. He could very well be setting the table to get himself impeached. It would make him a hero to his supporters and he gets to go back to having fun being the consumate provocateur.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I doubt he’s planned anything at all beyond feeding his own sad neediness. But it is a bit like when I talk to people who want to ‘be’ writers but don’t actually want to write. I want to be a great blues guitarist, I just don’t want to have to, you know, learn to play the guitar.

    ‘Being’ is fun; ‘Doing’ is hard.

  11. wr says:

    @Pete: “Do not all politicians lie? “I will close Gitmo.” “You can keep your doctor and your insurance policy if you want.””

    Hey stupid — These two were not lies. In the first case, Obama spent 8 years attempting to close Gitmo and was stopped at all times by congress. In the case of the second, it was an overpromise that didn’t take into account certain market forces — a mistake, not a lie.

    Let me guess — you’re one of those “both parties are alike so I’m better than everyone” Libertarian assclowns. Have you met Mbunge yet? You’d have a fine time together.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    Not only after Trump spoke, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who has had a long career in Washington during which he has generally been well-respected by journalists and people on both sides of the political aisle and previously served as spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, spent what was effectively his first White House Press Briefing attacking the media and repeating his boss’s completely unsupported statements about the size of the crowd at the Inauguration

    Even by contemporary low standards with respect to acknowledging objective facts, Sean Spicer’s performance was both ridiculous and disgraceful.

    Clearly, the Trump people are incensed that the “Media” is trying to depict the newly installed Trump Administration negatively, so it’s def-con-4 up there, everyone is under orders to complain about the “Media” and misrepresent facts where necessary.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Pete:

    Oh, for God’s sake, grow up. Yes, everyone lies. No, not everyone lies about plainly visible facts. Not everyone lies constantly, about everything. Believe it or not, there are degrees of sin. Accidentally killing innocents with a weapon that cost millions of dollars precisely because we are trying desperately to avoid that outcome, is not Genghis Khan cold-bloodedly killing an entire city of women and children. It’s not the Holocaust.

    The alternatives to the drone war are A) Actual war, B) Acceptance of American deaths from terrorism and the curtailments of civil liberties that inevitably follow. If we get another 9-11 do you want POTUS reaching for Actual War? Or do you want him to fire some Hellfires? Because that’s the choice.

    Politics is not the art of the perfect, it is the art of the possible. It is not possible that the American people will allow themselves to be passively victimized. So what’s your real world choice? And if you don’t have something better, maybe it’s because there isn’t anything better to be done.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:

    After 8 years of Obama that’s the best anyone can come up with as examples of lies. I don’t know what world these people grew up in, but two ‘lies’ in eight years is cause for celebration and the erecting of statues.

  15. KM says:

    Now he’s ordering Twitter accounts for The National Park Service to be suspended because they RT the inaugural pics.

    We only tweet TrumpTruth here, folks. Alternate facts only can go “directly to the people” so the lying MSM can’t confuse them with things like reality. Donald alone gets to use the Twitter platform!!

  16. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I don’t think Trump expected to win, nor do I think he wants to be impeached. He’s like the dog who caught the car: What does he do with it?

  17. john430 says:

    “If the Trump Administration is going to lie about crowd sizes, and it did, then how can we trust it on stuff that actually matters”,

    Hey, Doug: Glad to see you spend so much time on trivia. I didn’t see the media excoriating Obama for his “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” whopper.

    But my favorite howler was Obama’s calling ISIS the JV team.

  18. wr says:

    @john430: “But my favorite howler was Obama’s calling ISIS the JV team.”

    Wait. So you think that was a deliberate lie? That Obama’s team knew that Isis was about to metastasize into the threat they are now and made the decision to say they were much less?

    Would you like to venture a guess as to why they’d do such a thing?

    Or maybe you might accept the difference between a mistake or misinterpretation and a deliberate lie.

    What’s sad is that after eight years you can’t actually find a single lie that Obama told, just a couple of mistakes and promises not fulfilled. Whereas the entire Trump team is spinning provable lies on day one. Like it was the media that invented Trump’s criticisms of the intelligence agencies. Or that more than a million people showed up for the inauguration.

    So here’s your choice — you can either accept the fact that your president lies almost every time he opens his mouth. Or you can defend his lies and claim them as truth, making yourself look like a complete fool.

    I’m guessing which way you’ll go, but really it’s up to you.

  19. wr says:

    @john430: “Hey, Doug: Glad to see you spend so much time on trivia. ”

    Oh, and just to be clear: You are troubled by the fact that a blogger is spending so much time on this trivia, but not bothered at all that the President is spending even more time on it, including devoting part of his speech to the CIA on it and then sending his press secretary out to lie to the press corps about it.

    Whose time do you think is more valuable?

  20. Dumb Brit says:

    I think DT has brought us all together as almost everyone can agree in “American Carnage”, the only difference is that Trump supporters believe that it has already happened whilst the rest of the world worries that it is likely to be the recipe for the next four years of government by the man who appears to have abdicated his position as Leader of the Free World in favour of becoming the Kommandant-in-chief of the post-truth era.

  21. Kylopod says:

    @Pete:

    (guy caught by traffic cops for driving at 132 mph in a school zone) “Hey, all drivers speed!”

  22. Hal_10000 says:

    I noted what Jonathan Last said over at the Daily Standard:

    Rule #1 for press relations is that you can obfuscate, you can misrepresent, you can shade the truth to a ridiculous degree, or play dumb and pretend not to know things you absolutely do know. But you can’t peddle affirmative, provable falsehoods. And it’s not because there’s some code of honor among press secretaries, but because once you’re a proven liar in public, you can’t adequately serve your principal. Every principal needs a spokesman who has the ability, in a crunch, to tell the press something important and know that they’ll be believed 100 percent, without reservation.

    If the White House can not be believed ever, we have real problems. Because there come some crisis — in the China Sea or the Baltics or Syria — where it is critical that everyone believes them.

  23. reid says:

    @Hal_10000: The problem starts at the top. As we all know by now, the president himself is a habitual liar. And petty, to boot. There’s no way a press secretary can reasonably defend him.

  24. bandit says:

    @michael reynolds: It must have been a hard day for the raving lunatics and psychotics marching too. They sure showed him – lolz

  25. Argon says:

    He works so hard trying to compensate for having a tiny glove size. Sad!

  26. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    The massive turnout HAS to be converted into VOTES in your mid-term elections………otherwise it really will be no more than a gesture.

    I have a feeling that Trump and his minions will be timing the worst of their “policies” until AFTER the mid-terms so that they don’t totally screw their chances of holding onto their majorities .

  27. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    By the way, there is no such thing as “fake news”, “post truth” etc…..there is the Truth and there are Lies.

    Its about time your press started calling it what it is.

    I want to see the day that a commentator/interviewer tells Trump (and/or one of his Sorrygates) flat out to their face ” That’s a lie”.

  28. Bookdragon says:

    Kasparov is worth following. He observed that the point of an emerging authoritarian telling blatant obvious lies is to see who calls them lies and who repeats them without question. They’ll watch the former and use the latter.

    It’s important that we the people take note of both groups too.

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Concerned UK Citizen:
    I entirely agree. Compared to the UK media our interviews are a series of softballs. Trump wouldn’t last sixty seconds on Hard Talk.

  30. rachel says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No matter how much scat the Man-Baby throws around his cage, some percentage of that 46% will in the end choose reality over lies.

    About 58.7% ∓ 1.3%, at a guess.

  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Concerned UK Citizen: I’m not sure that Trump and his minions are that smart.

  32. Gustopher says:

    It’s nice that the Trump administration immediately dispels the notion that they can be trusted with anything — none of this beating around the bush with creating different interpretations that reasonable people can pretend to believe, none of the “tax cuts pay for themselves”, just straight up, easily disproven falsehoods.

    Credibility is for little people.

  33. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Fair Point. Im still operating under the assumption that Trump is a rational actor–when looking at his objectives and viewpoint. If this was the standard popularity campaign that unexpectedly hit big–this guy just may want out. The only way to achieve that is to create a 3-front war with Republicans, Democrats, and the Press. He’s already got a 2-front war on his hands that he doesn’t appear to be trying to diffuse. The next 90+ days will be telling.

  34. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @john430: Well they are @$$hole. Obama allowed ISIS to dangle out there to draw out more Jihadis from Europe and the surrounding arab countries so they could kill a bunch of them in a few military operations across a relatively small geographic areas.

    Yes, The Black man played chess–thats a few levels of IQ above what I’d expect a Tic-Tac-Toe thinker like you to be able to comprehend. Stick to your busch-league insults.–they amuse me.

  35. john430 says:

    @Jim Brown 32: LOL! Obama said ooops about ISIS.

    As to his race which you race baiters always rely on…Obama’s skin could be green with yellow polka dots and still be incompetent and you’d still be his clown.

  36. Lit3Bolt says:

    @john430:

    Your Dunning-Kruger is showing.

  37. cian says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The scariest moment for me was listening to the CIA cheering Trump onto the stage. This is an organisation who, when told to torture, hop to it. I would have little faith in anyone within that organisation standing up to their commander in chief and doing the right thing. Same goes for the FBI. They are tools to be used by the powers that be and not for the good of the people. The better the president, the less harm they can do. The worse the president, their gloves come off. We are in the worst of times.

  38. Jen says:

    @cian:

    I would have little faith in anyone within that organisation standing up to their commander in chief and doing the right thing.

    I have full faith and confidence in them. These are dedicated people who do their jobs well for generally lousy pay and little recognition. They have to be right 100% of the time, a terrorist only has to be successful once. By the way, I didn’t get a very clear look, but that crowd looked overwhelmingly male. CIA is almost half women–they make up about 46% of the workforce there. These were folks who volunteered to come in on a Saturday…

  39. Scott says:

    @cian: That small audience was a self-selected one. Probably in no way representative of the Agency as a whole.

  40. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I think he might get bored and quit. Or overwhelmed–though he’d never admit it–and quit.

    He already has his three-front war, though, and he’s declared it–literally . It’s the president and “the people” versus Democrats, Republicans, and the press.

  41. Gustopher says:

    Can Spicer do his job effectively ever again after this performance?

    I think not. Or at least not as effectively as he would have otherwise. And I think that is the first, real concrete thing to come out of the pussyhat march — the media doesn’t trust Trump’s spokesperson on even basic facts.

  42. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    It won’t matter to Trump’s ardent fans if Spicer comes out and says the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. If he says it, it’s true.

  43. Daryl says:

    Ya ya if this was Obama you would be falling over yourselves. Confirmation bias..You lost get over it

  44. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    It won’t matter to Trump’s ardent fans if Spicer comes out and says the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

    I think it’s a lot likelier he’d claim Hitler was Japanese.

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    46% of the American people made a very, very stupid choice.

    After the Brexit vote there was a lot of speculation that a lot of Brits thought it would fail so it was safe to either stay home or throw in a protest vote. I haven’t seen any punditry suggest this wrt/ Trump, but I think there was a large, for lack of a better term, Nate Silver effect. I suspect a lot of people stayed home thinking this was a done deal and some part of his 46% was people throwing what they thought was a safe protest vote.

    I think Trump was correct when he asked why didn’t the Saturday marchers vote. Many won’t make that mistake next time. “They’re all the same”, “Both sides do it”, “It doesn’t matter who wins”, should all be off the table.

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: I’ve never understood the “wanting to be writers but not wanting to write.” In my experience, the writing is the fun part.

    (Oh, ok. If you get your hackles up at writing government manuals or something equivalent, I can understand feelings pissed at that–but who writes government manuals and claims to be “a writer”?)

  47. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s what they imagine the life of a writer to be, not the work involved. And they also seem to think that there’s some sort of magic involved that can somehow be accessed if only you have the right desk, computer, pen…

    It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on, really.

  48. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: Joan Didion is quoted as replying to the question “do you like to write” with

    I like having written.

  49. al-Alameda says:

    @Daryl:

    Ya ya if this was Obama you would be falling over yourselves. Confirmation bias..You lost get over it

    Minor Point of Clarification Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million.
    Non-Alternative Fact Obama won the popular vote twice, Trump never.
    Give Trump a Chance Definitely. You can anticipate that most Democrats will support Trump to the same extent that Republicans supported Obama.

    Cheers Daryl, I hope you get over your anger, bitterness and resentment before 2020.

  50. Daryl says:

    @al-Alameda:

    Classic straw man argument. Here is another one

    Trump would have won popular vote if you exclude California an NY.

    We have rules we follow but you want to move the goalposts because your candidate lost. Ha ha

    http://dailypundit.com/2017/01/22/geography-lesson/

  51. al-Alameda says:

    @Daryl:

    Classic straw man argument. Here is another one

    It is a simple objective fact – not an ‘alternative fact’ – that Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million. It is another simple objective fact – not an ‘alternative fact’ – that Obama won the popular vote twice, Trump never. You can’t seem to accept those objective facts, why?

    Subtract California and New York and Trump wins?
    Sure, and along those same lines, if Lincoln had let the South secede, Hillary wins both the popular vote and the electoral college.

    As for giving Trump a chance? Remains to be seen. Democrats would be well-advised to consider the Republican approach to supporting an opposition president, don’t you agree?

    Again, Trump supporters just can’t accept their victory, they’re so defensive and defiant. Sore winners.

  52. Daryl says:

    Face it you got it wrong about Trump because you read fake sites. I knew he had a good chance of winning. But I read real sites.

    So with this I will help you out.

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/01/crowd-size-matters-trump-is-right-it-was-huge/

  53. al-Alameda says:

    @Daryl:
    So with this I will help you out.

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/01/crowd-size-matters-trump-is-right-it-was-huge/

    Thanks for directing me to a site that cannot accept the obvious facts that (1) Trump is lying about crowd size, and (2) he is a remarkably thin-skinned, vindictive narcissist who cannot accept the very real fact (not alternative fact) that his inaugural event was far less attended than those of Barack Obama, and even less than the Women’s March in DC.

    I appreciate your assistance.

  54. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    @michael reynolds:

    ABSOLUTELY!!!

    No disrespect to your media, but they do seem to pay far too much respect to these politicians…..I think you need a few “Jeremy Paxman’s” on your news networks.

  55. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    @gVOR08:

    Just want to point out that 46% OF THE 53% THAT VOTED elected Don-iarrhoea .

    This is not the same as “….46% of the American People”

    Just wanted to point that out.

  56. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    @Scott:

    I’d be suprised if he grew into something remotely like a Human Being……let alone a President!