Sean Spicer (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

Sean Spicer: I didn’t lie, I just “screwed up”

Donald Trump's former press secretary is sticking to his claim that the inauguration was a huge event


Matthew Sheffield
January 5, 2018 4:01PM (UTC)

It's been almost half a year since he stepped down as White House press secretary, but Sean Spicer still is loathe to admit that he lied about the size of the crowd who attended Donald Trump's presidential inauguration.

In an interview with HLN, a CNN spin-off network, the former communications director said his first press statement was merely an instance where he had "screwed up."

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“There were times where I screwed up, there’s no question about it,” he told host S.E. Cupp. "The inauguration. You brought it up. I would say that's first and foremost."

But his earlier remark was not just a misstatement of the facts. Spicer flat-out lied in his first official act when he claimed last January that the Trump had "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”

Spicer's claims about in-person attendance at the Trump ceremony was not backed up by statistics kept by the Washington area's subway system, which showed that the president's first day in office saw had about 62 percent fewer train riders than on the day of Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009. Nielsen Media Research also reported that television ratings for Trump's event were lower than for the first inaugurations of Obama and Ronald Reagan.

Later on, Spicer made it clear he still was not willing to admit to his earlier false statements, retreating back to the fact that there were more internet media outlets in 2017 than ever before and therefore this meant more people watched Trump get sworn in.

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“The fact of the matter is that there are platforms like Twitter and Facebook and Instagram that were not available in previous administrations,” he said. “What I do regret is that we didn’t emphasize those points enough. We focused too much on the pictures.”

In other words, Spicer has yet to really admit to anything.


Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via m.sheffield@salon.com or follow him on Twitter.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2017 Presidential Inauguration Donald Trump Media S.e. Cupp Sean Spicer

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