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White House press secretary: ‘Our intention is never to lie’


    White House press Secretary Sean Spicer spoke during the daily White House briefing, today, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington.


    White House press Secretary Sean Spicer spoke during the daily White House briefing, today, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington.


    White House press secretary Sean Spicer spoke during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington today. Spicer answered questions about prescriptions drug costs, trade and President Donald Trump’s schedule among other topics.

NEW YORK >> White House press secretary Sean Spicer told a roomful of reporters that “our intention is never to lie to you,” although sometimes the Trump administration may “disagree with the facts.”

Spicer’s first full press briefing was closely watched today following a weekend statement about President Donald Trump’s inauguration audience that included incorrect assertions. After White House counselor Kellyanne Conway received wide social media attention for her explanation that Spicer had presented “alternative facts,” today’s briefing was televised live on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and, for a time, even ABC.

Meanwhile, ABC announced that anchor David Muir would interview Trump for a one-hour prime-time special to air at 10 p.m. EST Wednesday.

Spicer tried to defuse tension by opening with a self-deprecating joke about his lack of popularity, and his 78-minute session was wide-ranging and mostly substantive. He corrected one disputed statement from Saturday, defended another and expressed some frustration regarding how the new Trump administration feels about its news coverage.

Asked for a pledge not to lie, Spicer assented, saying, “I believe we have to be honest with the American people.” He said he had received incorrect information about Inauguration day ridership on the Washington Metro system when he initially claimed the system was used more Friday than for Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

“There are times when you tweet something out or write a story and you publish a correction,” he said. “That doesn’t mean you were trying to deceive readers or the American people, does it? I think we should be afforded the same opportunity.”

Spicer didn’t back down from his claim that Trump’s inauguration was the most-seen ever, clarifying that he was including people who watched online. The ceremony didn’t have the highest TV ratings and aerial photographs indicate the live crowd wasn’t as big as it was for Obama’s first swearing-in, but there are no reliable crowd estimates or numbers indicating how many people across the world watched the ceremony online.

He expressed frustration about an erroneous report, later corrected, stating that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from a room in the White House following Trump’s inauguration.

“Where was the apology to the president of the United States?” Spicer said. “Where was the apology to the millions of people who thought that it was racially insensitive?”

One reporter said Spicer had accepted an apology from the news outlet that made the mistake in a pool report.

Spicer would not say whether he was ordered by Trump or other staffers to make Saturday’s statement, but explained some of the thinking that went into it. Like countless White House staffs before them, the Trump team is exasperated about “negative” and “demoralizing” coverage.

“When we’re right, say we’re right,” he said. “When we’re wrong, say we’re wrong. But it’s not always wrong and negative.”

Spicer broke with the White House tradition of opening briefings with a question from The Associated Press. The AP was traditionally given the first question because it is a broad-based news cooperative that represents the largest swath of American newspapers, broadcasters and other kinds of news organizations.

Instead, Spicer initially called on a reporter from the New York Post, and he took questions from several news organizations that were rarely called on during the previous administration. He said four seats in the briefing room would be kept open for out-of-town reporters to participate via Skype.

The new press secretary — who took no questions Saturday — drew a laugh when he said he’d stay at the podium for as long as the reporters wanted him there, and he nearly did.

“I want to make sure we have a healthy relationship,” he said.

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    • The beginning of a dictatorship. Assault the press and media. Spread disinformation and falsehoods. Works very well in authoritarian totalitarian societies, police states.

      • @ vector
        Public Service working for Americans Obama had a 8 year head start & hiLIARy had a +30 year head start so let’s see after at least at the end of his first 4 years & then we can start to compare notes…fair?

      • HAHAHA!!! Trumpers want America to wait 4 years so that Trump can “Learn” how to be a politician…I thought they voted for him because he WASNT a politician, now they want him to learn how to be a POLITICIAN in 4 years, HAHAHAHA!!!! #MAGA

  • AP news feed…seems to have a bit negative slant in their reporting. If you did not see the press briefing…try view a recording of same. In my opinion, Mr. Spicer did a good job. Why the less than positive spin on Mr. Spicer’s handling of the press briefing by mainstream media? Different style…very direct, pushes back and does not “kow tow” to the press…well too bad. Was he being tough on the press…no…we had it much worst presenting quarterly performance reviews to our Senior Management Team. Overall it was refreshing. In addition, Mr. Spicer called on two reporters who I never heard before…one Asian and on Indian and wants to open it up to “out of town” reporters via skype! That’s great…outside the walls of Camelot! 🙂

    • Attacks on the press and media at CIA headquarters, by Sean Spicer on Saturday, are an attack on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the law of the land,and not the Bible or any other religious scripture.

    • When you are the White House press secretary and you botch up communications on your first day on the job with “alternative facts” (BAD lies), you cannot just make a reasonable apology two days later and expect everything to be all right.

      My guess: 3 months or less before Spicer is gone. 3 is also the over/under for how many cabinet members and senior advisers will be gone in the first year.

  • After criticizing the intelligence agencies throughout his campaign and continuing to do so after he was elected (even comparing them to Nazis), Trump went to the CIA on Saturday and stood in front of a wall honoring 117 fallen CIA agents without mentioning those who gave their lives. Then, he proceeded to talk about himself, including the lie that he had had appeared on the cover of Time Magazine more often than anyone else. He later claimed that the CIA employees gave him a standing ovation. Apparently, he didn’t know that, like the military, the CIA staff stands when the President enters and doesn’t sit until he tells them to —which he did not do — so they stood for 15 minutes. Also, in an unprecedented (or “unpresidented,” as he would tweet) practice of the Trump era, the President’s staff attends his public appearances to cheer, applaud and laugh, like a human laugh track.

    Trump is a firehouse of lies. He lies even when photographs and video will prove him wrong. He can’t help it.

  • Following in the footsteps of Kim Jong-un, President Trump has officially declared the day of his inauguration a national day of patriotism. This really happened!

  • At his first official meeting with congressional leaders, a meeting intended to build support, Trump veered off message to talk about himself and falsely claim that illegal immigrants had cost him the popular vote victory.. And, like Pinocchio’s nose, the lie got bigger as he now claims that 5 million “illegals” voted against him, an increase of 2 million over his earlier versions of this lie.

  • Trust will continue to deteriorate in his administration which is dangerous for this country.

    Trump’s administration presents many opportunities for democrats. The protests across the country and the world is not just a moment. It’s the beginning. What everyone should remember moving forward is that everyone’s issue is of equal importance – no one issue should dominate the movement. Everyone that chooses to join this movement is the very definition of democracy.

    This is an opportunity to begin the vision of a grass roots campaign in every state.

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