Spicer: “I believe that we have to be honest with the American people… Our intention is never to lie to you” https://t.co/H3kGF24den
— CNN (@CNN) January 23, 2017
Sean Spicer held his first scheduled White House press briefing on Monday, which arrived with plenty of baggage from the “Soviet-like” shenanigans he pulled on Saturday while arguing that Trump’s inaugural crowd was the most massive crowd ever, and Obama’s 2009 crowd was made of “grass.” This led Kellyanne Conway to coin the term “alternative facts” to describe his lies, which is still hilarious. Yet on Spicer’s first official day on the job, he told the press (in the above video), “I think some times we can disagree with the facts.” He said this with a reassurance: “Our intention is to never lie to you.”
Spicer also notably broke with tradition during the Q&A phase of the briefing. In doing so, he granted the first question to Daniel Halper of the Rupert Murdoch-owned NY Post — which breaks the usual protocol of going with the Associated Press. This may not seem like a big deal to the viewing audience at home, but Trump’s been striking out at the press on a regular basis, not the least of which was his “you’re fake news” comment a few weeks ago. By choosing a Murdoch outlet, Spicer wasn’t even being subtle about Trump’s unofficial alliance with Fox News, which is also run by Murdoch and becoming friendlier to Trump as time wears forth.
In addition to that telegraphing, Spicer also sent a mixed signal by granting “Skype seats” to four select journalists who live over 50 miles away from Washington D.C. Spicer promised that this was a friendly move designed to grant “more access to journalists around the country,” but of course, folks on Twitter quickly pointed out how vulnerable Skype is to hacking. However, some folks believe that the White House briefing room has lost its value in this digital age. There’s something to that, but Trump must be trying to make nice with the press.
The White House says the press briefing room will include “Skype seats” for reporters outside DC area https://t.co/7ojQPMw8jW
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 23, 2017
From a more substantive standpoint, Spicer confirmed earlier reports that Trump had withdrawn the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement on Monday. Spicer promised that this was an attempt to stress the American worker and put “U.S. interests first.” Spicer said that Trump would put his negotiating skills to use to “pursue bi-lateral trade relationships with allies around the world” because sticking around in an agreement with 11 other countries — in Trump’s view — causes the U.S. to be treated “unfairly.”
And of course, Spicer tossed in a complaint about how Obama had seven cabinet nominees confirmed on Day One of his administration while Trump only has two confirmed as of now. Spicer asked Democrats to “stop playing games” and get down to business. And that’s politics.