Angered by the media's portrayal of inauguration crowds, President Trump's new press secretary, Sean Spicer, espoused a few easily disproved facts during his first news conference — eliciting groans from critics wary of four years of what Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway referred to as “alternative facts."
And just like that, #SeanSpicerSays and #SeanSpicerFacts were born.
For those who missed it, Spicer graced the lectern of the White House briefing room on Saturday to dispute the mainstream media's efforts “to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the Mall" during Trump's inauguration.
Metal detectors slowed people's arrival to the mall, he said. White floor coverings used for the first time highlighted empty spaces, making it look as though fewer people had showed up. And the “reckless" media put out a false narrative playing down how many came out to support Trump.
His key point: “No one had numbers, because the National Park Service, which controls the Mall, does not put any out."
Spicer then goes on to list a few numbers that back up his assertion that Friday's crowd “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe."
That touched off a brief flurry to determine whether Spicer had spoken correctly.
For example, crowd estimates can be fuzzy, but Metro keeps count of every person who uses a Metro card to hop onto a train — and Spicer mentioned Metro numbers in his remarks.
According to Metro, Friday's ridership was the lowest in at least two presidential inaugurations.
As The Post's Luz Lazo reported, people took 570,557 trips in the system between its early 4 a.m. Friday opening through its midnight closing. The figures are significantly lower than those from the 2009 and 2013 inaugurations of President Barack Obama: 1.1 million trips in 2009 and 782,000 in 2013, according to Metro.
And The Post's Fact Checker gave Spicer Four Pinocchios, adding “we wish we could give five," after examining his other statements.
After his remarks on Saturday, Spicer refused to take questions and strode off the stage, apparently unaware that he had just become a meme.
Spicer spent some of the weekend tweeting from his new official Twitter handle as White House press secretary.
Among the things he posted for his 1.29 million followers: a Sunday morning declaration that the White House had not issued a statement on the Women's March on Washington a day after the inauguration, despite conflicting reports.
He also retweeted Zeke Miller, the White House correspondent for Time who erroneously reported that Trump had removed a bust of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. Miller used Twitter to apologize to his colleagues.
“Apology accepted," Spicer tweeted, and later, he added this admonishment: “A reminder of the media danger of tweet first check facts later."