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After protests, Trump wages war against media

‘Not our President’: (Clockwise) People pack the National Mall for the ‘Women’s March’ in Washington on Saturday; a similar march in Toronto; and actor Scarlett Johansson and Senator Kamala Harris speaking at the rally.   | Photo Credit: JONATHAN ERNST

Coming under public pressure soon after assuming office, President Donald Trump hit back, extending his campaign tone into presidency and targeting his ire at the media. Speaking at the CIA headquarters, Mr. Trump was angry with the media for comparing the crowd at his inauguration with Mr. Obama’s earlier.

Several media outlets had published pictures that showed that inauguration ceremonies in 2009 and 2013 had many more people compared to Friday. Mr. Trump said — wrongly — that his crowd “went all the way back to the Washington Monument”, at the other end of the Washington Mall. “I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth, right?” he asked.

In the evening, the first media briefing of the new presidency held out the prospects of a White House openly at war with journalists. “We’re going to hold the press accountable,” said press secretary Sean Spicer said, accusing some reporters of “deliberate false reporting” of the inaugural ceremony and following events.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Scarlett Johansson attends the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. Theo Wargo/Getty Images/AFP
== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Scarlett Johansson attends the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. Theo Wargo/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==   | Photo Credit: Theo Wargo

‘Inaccurate numbers’

“…photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimise the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall…” he said.

“Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted... the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any [numbers] out. By the way, this applies to any attempts to try to count the number of protesters today in the same fashion,” he said.

A reporter had on Friday tweeted that Mr. Trump had removed the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. He later apologised for the mistake and withdrew his tweet. Mr. Spicer termed the misreporting “irresponsible and reckless”.

Meanwhile, more than half a million people filled to the brim the National Mall in the U.S. capital on Saturday to protest against Mr. Trump, rivalling the crowds that witnessed his oath the previous day at the same place. Protesters marched in several cities across the U.S, in an unprecedented outpouring of public anger against a President on his second day in office.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks to thousands of demonstrators who gathered for the Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks to thousands of demonstrators who gathered for the Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)   | Photo Credit: RUTH FREMSON

“No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” protesters chanted as they walked past the White House, referring to the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organisation that had supported Mr. Trump. The organisers had earlier called off plans to march from the Mall, owing to the massive crowds that had flooded all streets around the area. “This is what a movement looks like! Can’t see the end of the crowds from stage,” Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, one of the organisers, tweeted.

Hannah Sandin, a sculptor, travelled from New York along with a bus load of others to be in Washington, rather than joining the protest in her city. “He is a sociopath. And he must be resisted,” she said of Mr. Trump, adding that at the same time, there should be a more empathetic understanding of his supporters.

Protesters march, in support of the Women's March on Washington, in Toronto on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Organizers say 30 events in all have been organized across Canada, including Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Protesters march, in support of the Women's March on Washington, in Toronto on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Organizers say 30 events in all have been organized across Canada, including Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)   | Photo Credit: Frank Gunn

 

In New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver and Boston, massive rallies surpassed expectations of the police and organisers. The protest was initially billed as a women’s march, but the slogans and signs alluded to a wide range of concerns that the new presidency has raised — regarding environment, civil rights, marriage equality and the rights of the LGBT community.

The marches on Saturday formed the biggest protest in the country’s history. One of the biggest earlier was the 1982 anti-nuclear march in New York City that drew a crowd of around a million. The 1969 anti-Vietnam war protest in Washington had an estimated attendance of five to six lakh people.

While the public outcry against Mr. Trump raised the hope of progressive activists in the U.S., David Axelrod, a strategist who worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, sounded a word of caution. “This outpouring today is extraordinary and inspiring. But if all this energy isn’t channeled into sustained pol [political] action, it will mean little,” he said on Twitter.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 4:01:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/After-protests-Trump-wages-war-against-media/article17078991.ece

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