World

Trump blasts media over inauguration turnout reports

WASHINGTON Mr Donald Trump and his chief spokesman launched an unprecedented assault on the media for a US president's first full day in office, accusing reporters of downplaying the turnout at his inauguration.

Mr Trump, visiting the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in nearby Langley, Virginia, 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.

Mr Trump said one network estimated turnout at 250,000.

"Now, that's not bad. But it's a lie," Mr 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," he said.

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!" Mr 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."

Mr Spicer left the briefing without taking questions.- AFP

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