Speed Reads

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After being pilloried for peddling falsehoods, Press Secretary Sean Spicer insists the 'intention is never to lie to you'

On Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declared the audience at President Trump's inauguration "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period," slamming the media for reporting photos that showed a noticeably sparser crowd at Trump's ceremony Friday than appeared at former President Obama's first inauguration. Spicer also claimed — in contradiction with official data from the Washington, D.C., Metro system — that more people rode the Metro for Trump's swearing-in than for Obama's.

But on Monday, when pressed by ABC News' Jonathan Karl on his claims absent evidence, Spicer assured the American people that "our intention is never to lie to you." "Yes, I believe we have to be honest with the American people. I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts," Spicer said, when Karl asked if he would always "tell the truth from that podium." When Karl asked Spicer if he'd like to issue any corrections to his Saturday statements, Spicer resisted: "I came out to read a statement," he said of Saturday's press conference, "and I did."

Spicer then pointed out that the media makes mistakes "all the time." If anyone should be apologizing for falsehoods, Spicer suggested, it's the reporter who mistakenly reported that the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. The Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi pointed out the reporter had in fact apologized — and that Spicer had acknowledged that apology:

After his vow to tell the truth, Spicer proceeded to double-down on his claim that Trump's inaugural address was the "most-watched ever," both "in person and around the globe." Watch the entire exchange below. Becca Stanek