Trump Said Inauguration Crowd Numbers Were 'Bullshit' Says Reince Priebus In New Book
President Donald Trump flew into a rage about reporting on the size of the crowd at his inauguration and screamed at White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to fix the story early on the first full day of his presidency, according to an interview with Priebus for a new book.
âThis story is bullshit,â a furious Trump is reported as saying during an early morning call to Priebus. The morning after his inauguration on January 21 Trump had seen the crowd numbers published in The Washington Post and became indignant. He called Priebus screaming.
âThereâs more people there. There are people who couldnât get in the gates...Thereâs all kind of things that were going on that made it impossible for these people to get thereââ the president said, Priebus recalled.
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Priebus spoke to writer Chris Whipple for a forthcoming book entitled The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency, adapted in Vanity Fair.
U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus during a swearing in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC January 22, 2017. A new book quotes Priebus extensively on his time in the White House.
Trump reportedly then ordered Priebus to contact Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior, so that he could find out from the Park Service what the numbers were. "Tell him to get a picture and do some research right away,â Trump said, according to Priebus.
The presidentâs former chief of staff said he tried to calm Trump down, but couldnât.
âIs this something that I really want to go to battle over on day one? Who needs a controversy over the inauguration?â Priebus told Whipple. Priebus said he faced a decision to either âgo to war over this with the president of the United Statesâ or try to punch back against the story.
Read more: Trump said he was wrong on inauguration crowd size, new book says
Later that day, White House press secretary Sean Spicer attacked the reporting during his first press conference, arguing it was âthe largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.â
Trump had ordered Spicer to go out and attack the press, according to another recent book by Fox News host Howard Kurtz. The fact was that the crowd size was smaller on the Washingtonâs National Mall than it was at President Barack Obamaâs inauguration.
Kurtzâs book claims counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway had also tried to calm the president down but was unable. âShe invoked a line that she often employed when Trump was exercised over some slight,â Kurtz wrote. ââYouâre really big,â she said. âThatâs really small.ââ
Priebus told Whipple the strategy Spicer came up with was âto say that actually, if you combine online and television, radio, and in-person, it was the most watched inauguration.â That was difficult to prove and didnât undermine the reporting about the crowd size in Washington.
Trump later regretted ordering Spicer to dispute the numbers, according to Kurtz, telling aides: âI shouldnât have done thatâ and âYou were right.â
Priebus was ousted from the White House less then eight months later and current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly replaced him last August.Source: Google News