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Trump praises the CIA, bristles over inaugural crowd counts on first full day in office

President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Leesburg. Times-Mirror File Photo/Buzz Covington
On his first full day in office, President Donald Trump on Saturday berated the media over its coverage of his inauguration, and turned a bridge-building first visit to CIA headquarters into an airing of grievances about "dishonest" journalists. But it was Trump who spread inaccuracies about the size of the crowds at his swearing in.

Standing in front of a memorial for fallen CIA agents, Trump assured intelligence officials, "I am so behind you." He made no mention of his repeated criticism of the intelligence agencies following the election, including his public challenges of their high-confidence assessment that Russia meddled in the White House race to help him win.

"There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and CIA than Donald Trump," he said, blaming any suggestion of a "feud" on the media.

Trump's decision to travel to CIA headquarters so quickly after taking office was seen as an attempt at a fresh start with the intelligence agencies he will now rely on for guidance as he makes weighty national security decisions. Following his private meeting with top CIA leaders, Trump said the U.S. had been "restrained" in its efforts to combat terrorism, calling the threat "a level of evil we haven't seen."

But in unscripted, stream-of-consciousness remarks, Trump appeared more focused on settling scores with the media.

He defensively touted the crowd size for his swearing-in ceremony, wrongly claiming that the throngs on the National Mall stretched "all the way back to the Washington Monument." Photos and video clearly showed the crowd stopping well short of the landmark.

Trump's visit took place as throngs of women, many of them wearing bright pink, pointy-eared hats, descended on the nation's capital and other cities around the world for marches organized to push back against the new president. Hundreds of protesters lined the motorcade route as Trump sped back to the White House, many screaming and chanting at the president.

The Washington rally alone attracted more than 500,000 people by the unofficial estimate of city officials. It appeared to be more people than attended Trump's inauguration on Friday, but there were no comparable numbers. The city did not release an estimate for the inauguration. The National Park Service does not provide crowd counts.

During his remarks at the CIA, the president claimed the inaugural crowds topped 1 million people, offering no evidence.

Suggestions that weak enthusiasm accompanied his inauguration clearly irked the new president. Shortly after his remarks, he dispatched his press secretary, Sean Spicer, to the White House briefing room to aggressively reinforce the message.

"There's been a lot of talk in the media about holding Donald Trump accountable. And I'm here to tell you that it goes two ways. We're going to hold the press accountable as well," Spicer said in his first on-camera appearance at the White House.

Trump, and later Spicer, also slammed a Time magazine reporter for incorrectly reporting Friday that Trump had moved a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. out of the Oval Office. But Trump followed with a misstatement of his own, saying the reporter had not corrected the mistake. In fact, the item was quickly retracted.

High-level CIA brass stood largely silent during Trump's remarks, though some of the roughly 400 other officers in attendance cheered on the president during his remarks.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, slammed Trump for using his CIA visit to squabble over media coverage.

"He will need to do more than use the agency memorial as a backdrop if he wants to earn the respect of the men and women who provide the best intelligence in the world," Schiff said.

Former CIA Director John Brennan went further. His former aide Nick Shapiro released a statement saying "Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump's despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA's Memorial Wall of Agency heroes. Brennan says that Trump should be ashamed of himself."

The inaugural celebrations have been shadowed by reports that the CIA and other federal agencies are investigating Russian interference in the presidential election on behalf of Trump. McClatchy reported that the investigation included whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided Trump. The New York Times said agencies were examining intercepted communications and financial transactions between Russian officials and Trump's associates.

FBI Director James Comey has declined to confirm or describe the nature of the government's investigation, both during a congressional hearing and in closed-door meetings with members of Congress.

Saturday marked the end of three days of inaugural celebrations, with Trump and his family attending a national prayer service traditionally held for the new president. The president and his wife, Melania, and Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, sat in a front pew at Washington National Cathedral for the morning service.

The interfaith service is a tradition for new presidents and is hosted by the Episcopal parish. But the decision to hold a prayer session for Trump sparked debate among Episcopalians opposed to his policies.

Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington wrote in a blog post that while she shared "a sense of outrage at some of the president-elect's words and actions," she felt an obligation to welcome all people without qualification, especially those who disagree and need to find a way to work together.

Trump arrived at the cathedral mid-morning. The service included readings and prayers from Protestant, Jewish, Sikh, Mormon, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Baha'i, Episcopal, Hindu and Native American leaders. But the program was remarkable for the large number of evangelicals participating, including two former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, the country's largest evangelical denomination. Several speakers had served as Trump advisers and supporters who spoke at the Republican National Convention.

AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York and Associated Press writers Jonathan Lemire and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.


Callme, maybe you haven’t been paying attention. Commenters on these forums are no longer intimidated by the PC hate squads. The “deplorables” remark released people to speak freely because it showed how ridiculous the “racist” or “sexist” labels are. That is a main reason people like Trump. He allowed people to speak accurately again.

Trump is neither a saint nor one to be “worshipped”. His conflicts of interest are massive and will need to be resolved. In general, he is not a role model but neither was Slick Willy. He is a flawed politician who was the best choice available. And most are hoping the issues he broached can be at least partially solved.

Many folks have contacted me on facebook based on these LTM comments. They commend me, they don’t eschew me. In your circles, you think more folks oppose me but those are the same circles shocked by Trump’s election. You all don’t get it.

Obama was universally loved. His supporters thought he was the second coming while even his opponents thought he was an interesting guy and a good family role model. On policies, many folks had completely different viewpoints. You can’t accept that so you call them racists. Nobody has ever claimed Trump is the second coming or a great role model. So how in the world can you claim Obama was called more names than Trump?

Meant “someone might misunderstand”.

You really don’t get it, do you SGO. No matter how you twist your words and everyone else’s, you are not going to be loved here. Your position that Trump is being called names while Obama was never slammed for all things racist has no basis in reality.  The difference this time is that Obama took the high road and accepted that the county has racist idiots while Trump and defenders like you are expectng that we all worship him.

Wow, and folks say Trump misinforms. Callme, you know I have never called people “spades”. I might say he has xyz quality (e.g. intelligence or artistic ability) “in spades” meaning in abundance. That would be a compliment. However, if the comment is directed at or in front of blacks, I no longer say it. Not because I am degrading anyone but because someone might understand. I also only tell non-black people they are “articulate” because somehow that is an insult to (some) blacks now. For the record, I think most people from all backgrounds are not articulate so saying so is a compliment.

But it appears you believe calling Obama a “Muslim” is some kind of insult similar to being called un-American or a pedophile. Shame on you! There is nothing wrong if Obama were a Muslim. Some people don’t think Trump is really against abortion but they don’t defend defriend others for saying so.

Callme, you need to step it up or go back to the kiddie pool.

I am shocked at what you posted SGP.  According to you, it is OK to call African Americans “spades” as long as they don’t hear it?  You don’t believe that people challenged Obama as being an American Citizen?  There were only a few random people posting racist comments simply because you did not recognize them as racist.  And besides, PC is bad because it forces people to check their language?  Wow!

Just this week I unfriended a FB connection because they continue to post that Obama is a Muslim.  The hate continues and you seem to be part of the problem

Satchmo, a “tar baby” is a “difficult problem, only exacerbated by attempts to solve it”.  Haley Barbour clearly did not mean to use it as a slur against Obama since he was calling the ill-advised policies tar babies.

As for Lamborn, it appears he didn’t intend it as a slur either but I agree calling the President himself a tar baby is insensitive.

Even your futile attempt to find a derogatory term failed.

Many of us have regional terms that can no longer be used.  I have used the term “spades” nearly all my life.  Yet, I often censor that term (if I catch it) if black folks are around.  In other words, I certainly don’t use it intentionally to slur anyone, quite the opposite.  It’s actually wrong to censor speech but the politically correct have become so crazy.

I don’t dispute that a small minority may not have liked having President Obama as President and may have used derogatory language.  I didn’t hear it.  And I think it was unacceptable for folks to say it publicly.  Certainly the other side implied there were all these racists.  That was false.  Everyone I talked to objected to his policies.  And in SC, the politicians ran against Pelosi much more than Obama.  I do hope they keep Pelosi in charge of the Democrats as long as possible to keep their numbers down.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) called President Obama a “tar baby” in 2011. 

“Haley Barbour called President Barack Obama’s policies “tar babies” on a post-election conference call for clients of his lobbying firm, two sources familiar with the call told POLITICO.”

Oh, and there are much more SGP.  Broaden your reading list.

Oh, SGP - you defender of alternative fact.  I wont repeat the names but I will remind you of the so many memes, stories, and accusations that attacked everything from Obamas religion to his citizenship to color of his skin.

A little joke that plays on what Trump himself said at a debate is nothing compared to the hate of the last 8 years.  Instead, it is a little joke - laugh it up

CBS News has confirmed reports that Pres. Trump brought a studio audience to his visit with the CIA on Saturday. The senior CIA staff stood stone faced during his “stump” speech.

Standing in front of a memorial wall at the CIA and talking about only himself(yet again) and the media..I ask the true Trump koolaid drinkers, when are you going to at least acknowledge some of his shortcomings? Only the GOP that do not like Trump but voted cuz they pledge allegiance to their cult, er party, that seem to acknowledge that he has a lot to learn.

Since we are now allowed to use “alternative facts” the Washington Redskin are 2017 Super Bowl Champions.  Congratulations to all you Washington Fans.

Callme, I never heard anyone call Obama something like “Babyhands”.  And you know that is a euphemism for other things.  Or take “President Clown”.  Just shows the class.

When folks did label Obama for his policies (e.g. socialist - and his policies do mirror the democratic socialist policies of Europe), they were accused of being racist.  Cite one offensive name that Obama was called.

We’d have to go back to Harry Reid calling George W Bush a “loser” for something comparable.  Talk about ironic, Harry Reid.  Even his own party was embarrassed by him on his way out.

If folks want to call Trump a liar for his comments, so be it.  Or arrogant, etc.  I’m not talking about that.  I’m referring to the immature, non-policy-based names that add nothing to the debate.  Such names simply show how panicked Democrats are about their liberal policies being rolled back.

The media should be ashamed for their use of CGI and camera tricks to misrepresent how many millions of people showed up for the inauguration.  Such a wonderful and historic day has been marred by the bitterness of others.  Sad!  Congrats to the President for bringing together so many different races, religions, and creeds.  Our future is bright!

Is LTM covering National news now, or just looking to stir up the pot?

Been reading ShamblingVulgarity’s comments the past several days.  Mostly name calling and childish posts.  Sad to watch.  I’m guessing (hoping)the person is a minor.

SGP - there was no name calling of Obama over the past 8 years?  Seriously?

CanWeTalk, Trump is far from a perfect president.  His conflicts of interest will likely cause new rules to be created.  But what has Trump actually done that is harmful?  No major executive orders were issues.  By this time, Obama had promised to close Gitmo with absolutely no plan in place other than setting terrorists loose.

Laws originate in the House (at least spending bills), under Speaker Ryan, not in the White House.  His Sec of State & Defense are universally respected.  Trump has used the bully pulpit to embarrass companies into keeping jobs here.  Other nations are on alert we will not be bullied at the negotiation table.  How long has Europe shirked their military commitments?  Maybe it’s time a more shrewd negotiator led the way.

Complain about acts, not one-time, off-the-record remarks.  Talking impeachment on day 1 or mocking the President for the size of their hands while likening him to a 12-yr-old is quite ironic, don’t cha think?

Virginia SGP, you are reaching.  Can you honestly say there’s nothing about the way Trump has behaved since election day, nothing at all that gives you pause?

I’m very tolerant but I’m not stupid.

And to add to the first comment, if you want to understand those continuing to bash Trump, and not giving him the opportunity to govern, well, they are no different than the 12 year old he/she discribes or the rioters destroying the various cities and creating chaos. Makes perfect sense.

Shame on you for insulting 12-year-olds! I have known and taught many tweens, and they were all more educated, more polite and exhibited more class and grace than President Clown could ever muster.

If anyone had come up with such a pejorative name for Barack or Michelle Obama, they would be denounced as racist. Why is this tolerated, even celebrated, from the supposedly “tolerant” Left?

Poor little Babyhands.  His ego is so very fragile.

If you want to understand Trump, just close your eyes and pretend you’re listening to a 12 year old.  Makes perfect sense then…

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