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Kellyanne Conway: Press Secretary Provided 'Alternative Facts' About Inauguration Crowd Size

Kasia Anderson
Deputy Editor
Kasia Anderson is a deputy editor at Truthdig. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1997 with a degree in English literature and sociology, she worked as a Web journalist in San Francisco until 2000,…
Kasia Anderson

On the third day of the Trump presidency, Kellyanne Conway delivered a not-so-veiled threat to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd about the nature and tone of the new administration’s future relationship with the media.

“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,” said Conway, counselor to the newly installed president.

The backstory behind Todd and Conway’s combative exchange had to do with White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s accusation, part of a monologue he delivered to reporters Saturday, that media outlets had deliberately misrepresented the number of attendees at Trump’s inauguration by altering photos and fudging numbers. Todd repeatedly called Spicer’s claim a “falsehood,” a characterization with which Conway took issue.

She issued her warning as a rejoinder to this question from Todd: “Why did the president send out his press secretary, who’s not just the spokesperson for Donald Trump — he speaks for all of the country at times — why put him out there for the very first time in front of that podium to utter a provable falsehood?”

The answer, according to Conway: Spicer was furnishing his audience with “alternative facts” — a term that quickly became a hashtag on social media. “Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck,” she said. “You’re saying it’s a falsehood and they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

Conway also pointed to an incident from Trump’s first day in office in which a journalist from Time magazine provided an erroneous detail in a White House pool report that said a bust of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. Before Conway’s Sunday comment, and before Trump denounced the report on Saturday, the Time reporter, Zeke Miller, on Friday issued a correction and apologized in a series of tweets.

Conway joined Spicer in challenging published inauguration figures as she declared in her debate with Todd on Sunday, “I don’t think you can prove those numbers one way or another. There’s no way to quantify crowd numbers.”

Watch Conway and Todd’s discussion below (via NBC News):

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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