NBC anchor Chuck Todd confronted President Donald Trump’s top counselor over the new White House press secretary’s false statements about the inauguration crowd sizes.
In a heated interview on Sunday’s “Meet The Press,” Conway dismissed Todd’s question about why press secretary Sean Spicer insisted that Trump’s inauguration crowd was the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration” despite contradicting evidence.
“I don’t think ultimately presidents are judged by crowd sizes. They’re judged by their accomplishments,” Conway said, noting the inauguration’s television ratings.
But Todd continued to press Conway, who said he was not treating Spicer with respect.
“You make a reasonable and rational case for why crowd sizes don’t matter. You did not answer the question,” Todd said. “Why put him out there for the very first time to utter a provable falsehood?”
“If we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here,” Conway replied.
The Trump counselor then argued that journalists intentionally mislead readers about Trump, noting that Time Magazine reporter Zeke Miller mistakenly sent out a White House pool report asserting that the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office, an inaccurate claim that Miller quickly corrected within minutes.
“We allowed the press in and what happens almost immediately? A falsehood is told about removing the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office,” Conway said.
But Todd still appeared unsatisfied with Conway’s response.
“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,” Todd said.
“No it doesn’t, do be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary is giving alternative facts to that,” Conway shot back.
“Wait a minute, alternative facts? Alternative facts — four of the five facts he uttered, the one that he got right was Zeke Miller, four of the five facts he uttered are not true. Alternative facts are not facts — they’re falsehoods,” Todd replied.
Despite numerous pieces of photographic evidence and public transportation ridership statistics, over the weekend, Trump and his top team appeared insistent on claiming that media outlets were somehow colluding to obscure the facts about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration.
Trump himself claimed that there were over a million people at the inauguration despite the fact that estimates put the crowd at closer to 250,000. There are no official government estimates of the crowd size.
“We had a massive field of people. You saw that. Packed,” Trump said during an address at CIA headquarter in Virginia on Saturday. “I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, they show an empty field. I said, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, it looked like a million, a million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there.”
Watch the full exchange below via NBC:
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