Photo Credit: Press Pool for Getty Images
It may not have had big, gold letters on the front, but the White House is now officially occupied by President Trump’s administration. From meetings with the CIA, a Press Secretary’s first briefing, more swearing-in ceremonies, to meeting with foreign leaders, here is how President Trump spent his first weekend in office.
On Saturday morning, after attending the traditional post-inauguration day prayer service, Trump traveled to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He met with Senior agency members before addressing a capacity crowd of nearly four hundred people. His remarks were made in front of the wall of honor, a place where fallen CIA members are remembered forever by the stars on the wall.
Had a great meeting at CIA Headquarters yesterday, packed house, paid great respect to Wall, long standing ovations, amazing people. WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2017
“This is my first stop officially, there is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump, there is nobody,” Trump remarked. The visit was perhaps reflective of the war of words between the intelligence community and the President prior to him taking office; for a period of time Trump refused to publicly agree with the agency’s conclusion that Russia intervened with the election.
However, Trump quickly got off topic during his CIA speech, in what became a campaign-style tirade against his favorite target: “I have a running war with the media, they are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”
Trump continued on with his address boasting with false statements about his inauguration. He described the rain as “stop[ping] immediately” at the beginning of the speech, and then “it poured right after I left [the podium].” Neither event happened, as many might remember the viral photos of former president George W. Bush trying to put on his poncho during the inaugural address.
If George W. Bush trying to put on this rain poncho doesn’t make you smile, I don’t understand you pic.twitter.com/7HMXzq0GCX
— Raini SkyWalker (@RainiWalker) January 21, 2017
Trump continued on by making comments about the crowd size at his inauguration. He commented that there were “like a million, a million and a half people.” Although the National Park Service does not put out crowd estimates, aerial photographs allow professors and scientists to estimate the density of the crowd. Steve Doig, a professor of journalism at Arizona State University, has previously given inauguration crowd estimates. He told The Atlantic that it allows experts to estimate the density of the crowd and multiply it by the area it covers, to produce “a reality-based estimate of the crowd.”
Doig went on to say that the “the claim that this is the largest ever is ludicrous on its face.”
Washington Metro System rider numbers fall short than both of Obama’s 2009 and 2013 inauguration.
The White House doubled down by sending out press secretary Sean Spicer in his first address to the press in the White House briefing room. Coming out with an aggressive tone, Spicer first debunked a journalist who incorrectly tweeted that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office (that press pool reporter issued a retraction — see more here.). He continued on to explain that incorrect numbers were printed about the crowd because “no one had numbers.”
However, he then said that this was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”
Spicer used false information about riders on D.C.’s Metro system to support his claim. Nielsen, the company that issues ratings information, had not yet put out numbers on online and television inauguration ceremony viewership. Spicer left the room without taking any questions.
President Trump spent Sunday discussing a wide range of issues from immigration, meeting with law enforcement at a reception, to Israel, and to reorganizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), among others.
His morning began before 5 am with a few tweets regarding the millions who participated in the Women’s March on Washington and other sister marches across the globe. Trump wrote that he watched the protests, but asked why the marchers didn’t vote. Trump followed up with a much different tone about an hour and a half later, writing, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”
After speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said his conversation was “very nice.” The White House later further elaborated that Iran, ISIS, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process were all discussed on the call. Netanyahu also accepted Trump’s invitation to join him at the White House next month. He also began discussions about moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Later in the morning, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said from the north lawn that the press secretary gave “alternative facts” in his description about the inaugural crowds.
“Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods,” Chuck Todd tells Pres. Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway this morning. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/Ao005dQ13r
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 22, 2017
NBC Political Director and Moderator of Meet The Press, Chuck Todd, continued the conversation about the falsehoods when Conway said, “If we’re going to keep referring to the press secretary in those types of terms I think we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”
Back inside, Trump supervised while Vice President Mike Pence swore in 30 new White House staff members in the East Room. The President opened the ceremony with remarks. He started by holding up a piece of paper saying that it was the traditional personal note from his predecessor, former president Obama. “It was really nice of him to do that,” Trump said.
He sent his condolences to the people affected by the deadly weather in Georgia, saying that he will be speaking to Governor Nathan Deal after the ceremony.
— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) January 22, 2017
Trump spoke of his busy day, telling the crowd that he had set up meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to negotiate the NAFTA deal. “We’re going to start negotiations on NAFTA, on immigration and on security at the border … I think we’re going to have a very good result for Mexico, for the United States, for everybody involved.”
Lastly, at the time of this writing, Trump hosted law enforcement officers and first responders at the White House for a reception in their honor. There he shook hands with FBI Director James Comey, joking that Comey had “become more famous than me.”
Some Democrats blame Comey for Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the presidential election after he broke protocol to announce a new development in the investigation into her private email server days before the election.
Trump has said that Monday will be the true first day of his administration, although he certainly has already been busy.