White House press secretary Sean Spicer proved once again on Monday that President Trump is totally obsessed with audience size.
Early in Monday’s media briefing, Spicer delivered the White House’s version of a summary of the past few days.
“As a quick recap,” he began, “on Friday you saw the president’s enthusiastic reception at the Department of Defense for the ceremonial swearing in of Secretary Mattis as our secretary of defense.”
What a tremendously Trumpian framing. Even on James Mattis’s big day, the No. 1 takeaway (according to the White House) was “the president’s enthusiastic reception” at the ceremony.
Does Trump write Spicer’s remarks?
After recounting the enthusiasm of Friday, Spicer moved on to the weekend.
“We kicked off Saturday by launching the weekly address, which debuted for the first time on Facebook Live,” he said. “Nearly 11 million people were reached by the address online. Over 1.1 million people engaged with the post via comments, likes and other interactions. As of this morning, the video had been viewed almost 5 million times.”
A bit of context: Facebook’s viewership totals are notoriously inflated. If you scroll through one of Trump’s Facebook pages, a video of his address will begin to play automatically. Unless you stop the seven-minute clip within three seconds, you will count as a viewer. By way of comparison, YouTube counts viewers who watch for at least 30 seconds.
On Trump’s two Facebook accounts, comments on the address totaled about 74,000 and likes totaled roughly 194,000 when Spicer addressed the media. That leaves 832,000 “other interactions.” Whatever that means.
Spicer’s numbers have required constant fact-checking, ever since he began his tenure by citing bogus Inauguration Day crowd figures. After that, one might have expected him to stop talking about audience sizes. You get the sense that if it were up to him, he’d really like to stop. He hasn’t.