December 16, 2017

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Trump's Spokesman: Intention is Never to Lie to Press

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WASHINGTON — 

President Donald Trump’s White House spokesman vowed Monday that the new administration intends “never to lie” to the news media. Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments came in the wake of a growing clash between the new president and the journalists assigned to cover him and his White House during the first few days of his administration.

It was a less confrontational Spicer who walked into a packed briefing room Monday and held his formal encounter that included questions.

It came two days after Spicer accused the media of deliberately misreporting the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration Friday, including claims that were contradicted by photos and unofficial estimates.

FILE – President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd in front of the Capitol during his inaugural address, Jan. 20, 2017. (B. Allen / VOA)

On Monday, Spicer was asked directly if he and the administration will tell the truth.

“Yes, I believe that we have to be honest with the American people,” Spicer said in response to a question from ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. There are certain things that we may not fully understand when we come out. But our intention is never to lie to you, Jonathan.”

Dispute over crowd size

Spicer stood by the assertion that the Trump inauguration was the most viewed of all time, including those watching on television and those streaming online.

That was slightly different from his assertion Saturday when he declared that Trump’s inauguration was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” Spicer added at the time that “these attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

Spicer then refused to take questions and left the podium as reporters yelled out their queries.

FILE – White House press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily White House briefing, Jan. 23, 2017.

The dispute over crowd size was initially brought up by the president himself during a visit to CIA headquarters Saturday.

“I made a speech. I looked out and the field was, it looked like a million, a million-and-a-half people. They showed a field where there was practically nobody standing there,” Trump said, referring to some of the post-inaugural television coverage.

Trump also used the occasion to blast the news media, adding that a previously well-reported spat between himself and intelligence

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