Trump Press Secretary Blasts Inauguration Coverage, Makes False Crowd Claims (Video)

“Sean Spicer lacks the guts or integrity to refuse orders to go out and lie,” former Justice Dept. spokesman Brian Fallon said

Sean Spicer turned up the angst on his first press conference as White House Press Secretary, condemning the media for what he claimed to be “deliberately false reporting” in attempt “to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration.”

“This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said with emphasis. “Both in person and around the globe.”

His claim, however, conflicts with both TV ratings and reports from D.C. officials. According to Nielsen data from Bloomberg, Trump’s inauguration drew 31 million viewers nationwide. While that figure is greater than the TV draw for the inaugurations of Bill Clinton and both George H.W. and George W. Bush, it is still almost 11 million short of the record set by Ronald Reagan in 1981, and 7 million short of Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

As for the attendance at the Mall in Washington, Spicer correctly noted that there are no official figures on the inauguration attendance, as the National Park Service stopped recording attendance figures for gatherings at national monuments in 1995.

The assertion that 420,000 people in total used public transit the day of Trump’s inauguration compared to 317,000 for Obama in 2013 does not match the numbers reported by D.C. Metro — which stand at approximately 550,000 total riders this past Friday while counting 782,000 on Inauguration Day 2013, according to The Washington Post.

Spicer’s figure of 317,000 for Obama’s second inauguration matches a D.C. Metro tweet which posted that figure as the total number of riders counted by 11 a.m., not for the whole day.

Spicer’s press conference received criticism from the media and former WH press secretaries.

“This is called a statement you’re told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching,” adding, “So, while press is stunned & can’t believe it, Sean is getting praised by his boss & co-workers now. MSM is from Venus. WH is from Mars.”

Bill Clinton’s press secretary Brian Fallon tweeted that Spicer “lacks the guts or integrity to refuse orders to go out and lie. He is a failure in this job on his first full day.”

On Fox News, commentator Charles Krauthammer said Spicer’s statement was “just plain weird.”

“The press secretary had to be called out on what had to be an emergency,” Krauthammer said. “We were going to do it on Monday and we moved it up…and it is basically over ratings.”

Krauthammer compared the press conference to Trump’s tweets last week taunting Arnold Schwarzenegger over his low ratings as Trump’s replacement to host “Celebrity Apprentice.” Krauthammer called the president’s tweets about TV ratings “an obsession that is not terribly healthy.”

Check out Spicer’s entire press conference in the video above.