The inauguration of the 45th President of the United States has occurred. Regardless of the sides people have taken, the opinions of individuals, or the votes that have been tallied, the 45th President of the United States is Donald Trump. Even people who are vehemently opposed to Trump are attempting to stay positive and hoping this presidency will not be as apocalyptic as some have predicted. That forecast is looking a bit cloudy. Within the first 48 hours of Trump’s presidency, we the people have already been given falsehoods and twitter rants. This past Saturday, Trump visited the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Langley, VA. Previously, Trump has had problems with the CIA due to its investigation of the Russian government’s hacking in relation to the presidential campaign. Making this visit in the beginning of his presidency seemed to be a conciliatory step, until he gave a speech. The stars symbolizing duty and sacrifice seemed to be in stark contrast with President Trump’s self-aggrandizing speech. In this speech, Trump claims to love honesty, but seems to employ little of it. Continuing one of his main themes, Trump attacked the media and their supposed dishonesty. Now, I’m not going to lie. Sometimes the media has incorrect information, and fake news does exist. However, that does not mean that the media as a whole is dishonest or evil.
Trump’s most recent issue with the media has to do with attendance at his inauguration. Many media sources claimed that Trump’s inauguration was not as highly attended as previous ones, which, according to photographs and estimated numbers, is true. During his speech at the CIA headquarters, Trump claimed that those media sources were all incorrect and actual attendance was much higher. The White House’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, further perpetuated this claim in his first press conference. Spicer claimed Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience ever in history. According to information from various sources regarding attendance, that is not the case. Furthermore, Spicer’s tone during the press conference seemed to be quite aggressive towards the media, and he made various statements that were simply not true. Following this press conference, another interview, this time with Kellyanne Conway (Counselor to the President), mentioned the topic of crowd size again. When asked about Spicer’s incorrect statements in reference to attendance, Conway stated that he gave “alternative facts” to the press. This is an interesting statement, considering the definition for a fact is something that has objective reality or is verifiable. In fact, the word fact is trending on Merriam Webster in response to Conway’s statement about “alternative facts”. Those statements may be alternative, but they are not factual.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter how many people attended the inauguration, whether or not it was the most viewed, or the number of Metro trips that were recorded. Attendance at the inauguration simply does not matter to us; it isn’t really a problem. Lying about it though? That is a serious problem. Now, there is a precedent about the information the public obtains from the White House. How are we, as citizens of the United States, supposed to trust information coming from the head of our government, knowing that we have been told incorrect information previously? Plus, if the White House is willing to give inaccurate information about something as minor and petty as crowd sizes, how do we know that won’t be the case for more important information as well? It is worrisome when the first press conference of Trump’s administration makes citizens doubt the information given to them. Perhaps, we can hope that this was simply a mistake, which all of us make. There is still time to repair relations, but we must remember to speak up and act as a check to our government. We the people are the United States.