Saturday, January 21, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He and his administration spent most of his first full day in office visibly preoccupied with crowd sizes.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer began his White House career by accusing the media of "deliberately false reporting" on the size of the inaugural crowd, and pre-emptively warned against any attempts to count the protestors gathering in the same place today. (Spicer's warning aside, metrics like Metro ridership statistics, bus permit requests, and photographic comparisons between Friday's inaugural and Saturday's Women's March led most observers to conclude that the Women's March was larger.)

The National Parks Service returned today to Twitter with a meek apology for posting photographs comparing the sparse Trump crowds with the 2009 Obama inauguration. The hours-old Trump administration had issued an "urgent directive" Friday night banning all Interior Department agencies from social media. 

Finally, Trump himself returned repeatedly to the subject of crowd sizes during his remarks to employees of the CIA. Standing in front of the memorial wall for fallen officers, Trump blamed the media for underreporting what he estimated to have been 1.5 million attendees at the inauguration. This is most likely an example of a tactic Trump calls "truthful hyperbole" and recommended in his book Art of the Deal.

Who cares?

  • It's bad when presidents lie to the public, even if they have a clever name for how they do it.
  • Something like this probably should not be an administration-wide priority on a president's first full day in office.