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Trump's chief advisor Kellyanne Conway defends crowd claims as 'alternative facts'

The presenter replied that ‘alternative facts’ were not facts: “they’re falsehoods”.

NBC News / YouTube

DONALD TRUMP’S SENIOR advisor has defended comments by the US President and his administration by calling them “alternative facts”.

This comes in response to comments by Donald Trump and his chief spokesman who launched an unprecedented assault on the media yesterday, accusing reporters of downplaying the turnout at his inauguration.

Aerial photographs showed that there were significantly fewer people at Trump’s inauguration yesterday, compared with Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

Speaking on  NBC’s Meet the Press tonight, Trump’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway said that Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer had given ‘alternative facts’ to this evidence, presumably referring to the argument that there were more borders stopping people from getting in, and white boards meant empty spaces in the crowds were noticeable.

The presenter Chuck Todd replied that four out of five of these claims were proven to be untrue, and that ‘alternative facts’ were not facts: “they’re falsehoods”.

Previously in the interview, Conway suggested that if Todd continued his hard-line of questioning, “she’d have to reconsider their relationship”.

She then said that there was no way of verifying the numbers; contradicting Spicer’s claims that the inauguration attracted the biggest audience ever.


Yesterday Trump insisted against all evidence that he drew 1.5 million people to his Friday swearing-in ceremony.

“I made a speech. I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people,” he told CIA staff.

“They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, Donald Trump did not draw well,” he added.

Trump said one network estimated turnout at 250,000.

“Now, that’s not bad. But it’s a lie,” Trump said. He falsely claimed there were people stretching from the steps of the Capitol, where he spoke, along 20 blocks back to the Washington Monument.

“So we caught them and we caught them in a beauty and I think they’re going to pay a big price,” said Trump.

‘Largest audience ever’

White House press secretary Sean Spicer doubled down on the accusation, using his first press conference in the White House briefing room to blast the journalists seated before him for “deliberately false reporting” on crowd size.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!” Spicer said, his loud and abrasive tone catching nearly everyone in the room off guard.

“These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

Spicer left the briefing without taking questions.

An estimated 1.8 million people flooded the National Mall area in 2009 when Barack Obama was first sworn in as president, according to federal and local agencies at the time.

Washington authorities reportedly predicted 800,000 to 900,000 would attend Trump’s inauguration Friday – about half of the 2009 crowd.

With reporting from AFP

Read: Trump’s team: ‘This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period’

Read: ‘Making crazy seem normal’: Campaign manager Conway credited with rescuing Trump campaign

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