On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace confronted White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus with photographic evidence to dispute their inaugural crowd size lie.
WALLACE: OK, you talk about honesty and say that this was about honesty. Well, there’s another issue here, though, Reince, and that is the president’s honesty, because two things that he said yesterday were just flat wrong, and I want to talk about them.
First, crowd size. I’m going to put up, take a look at these pictures. We’ve got monitors here.
PRIEBUS: But there’s another picture.
WALLACE: Wait, let’s take — take a look at those pictures. On the left, you’ve got the Obama inaugural crowd. On the right, you’ve got the Trump inaugural crowd. Which one is bigger?
PRIEBUS: Listen, you are also not saying that that picture was taken before he was even speaking. I mean, you can —
WALLACE: I was there. I was there in the Mall.
PRIEBUS: I was there, too, Chris.
WALLACE: Let me say, first of all, I think this is a ridiculous conversation.
WALLACE: But there were huge areas — he said that there were crowds all the way to the Washington Monument.
PRIEBUS: There was. Yes, there was. I was sitting there —
WALLACE: Look, I mean, put up the picture again.
PRIEBUS: You can keep putting the picture, but I can take a picture — an aerial picture right now and I can say look at the difference. If you’re not comparing apples to apples, it doesn’t matter.
WALLACE: I’m telling you, that there were huge —
PRIEBUS: You can keep telling me what you want to tell me.
Priebus claimed that the picture Fox News Sunday showed was taken before the event began.
The photos that Fox News put up, which look exactly like The New York Times analysis were taken at the same time of 11:15 AM.
Chief of Staff Priebus was not telling the truth, and that is what this dispute is really about. The fact that the Trump administration is so willing to make up their own reality is part of a much bigger and more dangerous problem.
If the Trump White House will lie about something as minor as inauguration crowd size, they won’t hesitate to tell big lies. The kinds of falsehoods that lead to wars and American men and women dying.
The Trump team is so far gone that even Fox News isn’t going the whole way down the trail of lies with them. The facts aren’t a conspiracy against Trump, and an administration that refuses to live in reality presents a grave danger to its own people and the rest of the world.
The inaugural crowd size lie is a symptom of much more dangerous condition.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association