Sean Spicer, press secretary for the Donald Trump administration, is about to deliver his first full press briefing.
The briefing will take place at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and it can be streamed live in the embedded YouTube player via The White House.
This comes two days after Sean Spicer appeared in the briefing room in order to read a short statement to reporters. Spicer blasted the media for correctly reporting that fewer people attended Donald Trump’s inauguration than attended Barack Obama’s in 2009. He insisted that this is not the case, even though anyone can verify this for themselves simply by looking at objective photographic evidence.
Spicer said on Saturday that part of the reason the inauguration looked like it wasn’t well attended was because it was the first time floor coverings were used on the grass, and so this highlighted the empty areas. That is not true; floor coverings were used at Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration. He went on to say that 420,000 people used D.C. Metro transit on inauguration day compared to 317,000 during Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration. That’s also not true; according to The Washington Post, the accurate numbers are 570,557 for Trump and 782,000 for Obama.
In addition, Spicer said that fencing and magnetometers went far back on the mall, and so this prevented people from getting in. CNN and The New York Times later reported that no magnetometers were used this year.
Finally, Sean Spicer told reporters that there is no way to know how many people were at the inauguration, but moments later, he declared that this “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” That is very clearly false, as virtually any photo taken on Friday shows.
Later, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said in an interview that Spicer was not lying; he was simply offering “alternative facts.”
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving – Sean Spicer, our press secretary – gave alternative facts,” Conway said.
Spicer left the briefing room on Saturday immediately after delivering his statement, and so this afternoon will be his first time facing questions from the media. It is sure to be a contentious briefing, especially as Spicer has been known to take a combative tone with the press.