At a testy Saturday evening press conference, newly minted White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer offered a pair of novel defenses for the apparent small size of the crowds attending the inauguration of Pres. Donald Trump.
"This was the first time in our nation's history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass on the [National] Mall," Spicer said. "That had the effect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing, while in years past the grass eliminated this visual. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past."
However, CNN's Jim Acosta spoke with a representative of the U.S. Secret Service, who said "no magnetometers were used on the National Mall for Trump's inauguration."
A USSS spokesperson tells us no magnetometers were used on the National Mall for Trump's inauguration.— Jim Acosta (@Jim Acosta)1485046057.0
Acosta also posted photos of workers laying down ground covers to protect the grass on the National Mall in January of 2013, disproving Spicer's claim that the Trump inauguration was the first use of ground covers.
Pic of crews laying down white ground coverings at Obama inaugural in 2013 courtesy Getty images https://t.co/rBDi8tdekZ— Jim Acosta (@Jim Acosta)1485044946.0
Twitter users continued apace to mock and deride the White House's spin effort.
@WhiteHouse reasons @realDonaldTrump #CrowdSize looked smaller: 1)drank too much 2)cold water 3)too much blow 4)haven't trimmed down there— Alisha Cunningham (@Alisha Cunningham)1485049887.0
FLOOR COVERINGS! FENCING & MAGNETOMETERS! NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE COVERUP! SHOOTER ON THE GRASSY KNOLL! - Certified sane person, Sean Spicer— Kyle Edwards (@Kyle Edwards)1485042922.0
"The magnetometers were operating more slowly bc the huge crowds were distorting the earth's magnetic field" - Spicer— Matt Steiger 🖖 ⚛ Ω (@Matt Steiger 🖖 ⚛ Ω)1485043149.0
If the magnetometers were keeping people out, how did it still break records?!?!?— pastor christian ❄️❄️❄️ (@pastor christian ❄️❄️❄️)1485044260.0
Musta been scared off by the Magnetometers https://t.co/a0Nbqlv5bh— The Democrat Machine (@The Democrat Machine)1485045866.0
Magnetometers. Largest inaugural crowd ever, period! "I'll never lie to you". 3 lies in 24 hours. We're on pace for 4,383 #TheResistance— Phil (@Phil)1485052108.0