Whatever one wants to say about the last two months, and the year-and-a-half long election before it, today was an amazing day for progressives, as we were reminded in cities all across the country — hell, across the world — that not only are we not alone, but — as evidenced by the Women’s Marches — we are legion.
In D.C., 200,000 people were expected. 500,000 showed.
In Los Angeles, 80,000 people were expected, 750,000 showed.
In Chicago, 75,000 were expected. 250,000 showed.
175,000 showed up in Boston. 400,000 showed up in New York City. 60,000 in Atlanta. Hell, even in my small city of Portland, Maine, we were expecting 1000. Ten thousand showed. It was like this all over the country — around 600 cities in all held Women’s Marches protesting against Trump. It was undoubtedly the biggest show of nationwide solidarity in our nation’s history.
Donald Trump was not pleased.
In fact, so displeased was he that he gave a speech in front of a memorial wall for the more than 100 CIA officers who have fallen in the line of duty — a place where politicians are expected to be apolitical — and he railed against the media for mischaracterizing the size of the crowds.
The media did not mischaracterize anything. Turnout for Donald Trump’s inauguration was weak, especially compared to the crowds who attended Obama’s first inauguration. “It looked like a million, a million and a half people,” Trump said. The crowd “went all the way back to the Washington Monument.”
Trump’s inauguration drew 250,000 people. Half of what the Women’s March drew. He even lied about the weather, saying that the rain immediately stopped as he gave his speech (it did not) and that there was a downpour when he finished (there was not).
Trump, who also repeatedly fought with the intelligence community over the course of the last two months, lied again when he said, “There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There is nobody.”
Trump’s comments were so disrespectful to the CIA that he was rebuked by the former head of the CIA, who released a statement saying he was “deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes … Trump should be ashamed of himself.”
Even deeply conservative MSNBC personality Joe Scarborough — who is thought to be in the bag for Trump — was critical.
A president who speaks from hallowed ground at Langley about crowd size and press coverage may soon see his ratings drop into the 20s.— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) January 21, 2017
The moment that defined Trump’s day, however, came later, when Sean Spicer — the White House press secretary — called what was basically an emergency press conference in for one reason only: To lie his ass off about crowd sizes. Spicer used his first press conference to lie — and not just a small fib. The guy angrily made up this. “This is the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period.”
Twitter was left mostly flabbergasted.
Sean Spicer lacks the guts or integrity to refuse orders to go out and lie. He is a failure in this job on his first full day.— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) January 21, 2017
I work in political PR. I spin all the time. What Sean Spicer did today was Soviet-style propaganda mixed with lugenpresse Nazi tactics.— Eric Schmeltzer (@JustSchmeltzer) January 22, 2017
Congrats to @seanspicer for trending nationwide, on his first day on the job, as a sniveling, lying, ego fluffer for a tyrannical manbaby— snʘʘks (@snooksarmy) January 22, 2017
This is the White House press secretary under George W. Bush.
This is called a statement you're told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 21, 2017
Basically, Sean Spicer completely shot his credibility on the first day of the job.
This is what massive nationwide protests does to Donald Trump. It crushes his ego.
Deranged @seanspicer briefing shows how pathologically insecure Trump is about popularity/crowd sizes. Protests will hurt like never before— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) January 21, 2017
We’re living in a new era, but after today’s nationwide protests and Trump and Spicer’s meltdowns, it feels different. They may have the White House and Congress, but it feels like the Women’s Marches took back some of the power.