In response to widespread criticism of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who used his first briefing to berate the media and inflate the number of people who attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer’s decision to present “alternative facts.”
During a heated exchange with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press on Sunday, Conway launched into more criticism of the media for its “unfair and incomplete treatment” of Trump, instead of answering a question about why Spicer lied about the number of people who attended the inauguration.
Todd: You did not answer the question of why the President asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium, for the first time, and utter a falsehood. Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on Day One.
Conway: No, it doesn’t. Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.
Todd immediately corrected Conway, saying, “Look, alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”
Watch the exchange here:
On Saturday, as millions of women and men around the world took to the streets in protest of Trump, Spicer went on a tirade about the media coverage of Trump’s inauguration. He said that reports of the inauguration’s low attendance were “shameful and wrong.”
“Yesterday, at a time when our nation and the world was watching the peaceful transition of power and, as the President said, the transition and the balance of power from Washington to the citizens of the United States, some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting,” he said. “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period. Both in person and around the globe.”
Aerial photos proved otherwise. Although the official number of people who attended the inaugural event has yet to be released, estimates put the crowd at about 250,000 — far below the 1.8 million people who attended Barack Obama’s first inauguration. Meanwhile, Saturday’s women’s march had about three times as many people demonstrating on the National Mall, according to crowd scientists.
In his first speech to the CIA on Saturday, President Trump also focused his time on attacking the press for the coverage of the inauguration.