Sooo Jeff Merkley just showed inauguration photos during the OMB confirmation hearing and asked Mick Mulvaney which crowd is larger pic.twitter.com/BoU3yr4CAW
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) January 24, 2017
First, Sean Spicer falsely claimed Donald Trump’s inauguration crowds were significantly bigger than President Barack Obama’s in 2009. Reince Priebus defended both the new president’s obsession and his press secretary’s lies the following day, but even the National Park Service was in on the joke before reportedly getting banned from using Twitter. Yet if President Trump thought everyone had already forgotten about his administration’s boasts about bloated crowd figures from Friday, he’s in for a little dose of reality.
The medicine came during Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s (R-South Carolina) Senate confirmation hearing assessing his nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Most of the Budget committee’s questions pertained to the Freedom Caucus co-founder’s stances on financial issues, but it was Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) who broached Trump’s inauguration crowd size.
“I have behind me two pictures that were taken at about the same time of day in 2009 and 2017,” he began, asking: “Which crowd is larger, the 2009 crowd or the 2017 crowd?” A rather perplexed Mulvaney didn’t disappoint:
“Senator if you allow me to give the disclaimer that I’m not really sure how this ties to OMB, I’ll be happy to answer your question. Which is, from that picture it does appear that the crowd on the left hand side is bigger than the crowd on the right hand side.”
Mulvaney also faced questions about his failure to pay federal taxes and other significant, and pertinent, financial issues. Yet Merkley assured the nominee that he simply wanted to know if he’d deal with actual facts instead of “buried deceptions” and “magic asterisks” commonly shoehorned onto budgets.
Plus, it dovetailed nicely with unconfirmed reports that — after witnessing the size of the Women’s March crowds in Washington D.C. when compared to his inauguration, and following Spicer’s disastrous White House press briefing on Saturday — the president is considering a replacement spokesperson. Perhaps Mulvaney’s insisting on including a disclaimer was his way of avoiding the president’s ire.