Trump inauguration
January 23, 2017

President Trump woke up Saturday fuming over tweets from Friday afternoon unfavorably comparing the size of his inaugural crowd to those of former President Barack Obama, The New York Times reports, citing "several people close to him." Several senior advisers reportedly urged him to move on, while other aides, including press secretary Sean Spicer, encouraged him to hit back at the press — which Trump did, at CIA headquarters on Saturday, saying he has a "running war with the media" and accusing the press of lying about his inaugural crowd, which he incorrectly pegged at about 1.5 million.

Spicer then held his first press briefing and told the gathered reporters that Trump's was "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period," which is demonstrably false. Senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Meet the Press Sunday that Spicer was citing "alternative facts," and White House chief of staff Reince Preibus said the media was trying to delegitimize Trump's win. By Sunday night, Trump friends and allies were telling the media they were ready to hit the reset button.

"They got off to a very rocky start because they see everyone as adversaries," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, a Trump friend who talks with him often, told Politico. Trump is surrounded by new people, Ruddy said, and "one of the things they don't understand about him is he likes pushback. They are not giving him the pushback he needs when he's giving advice.... If he doesn't have people who can tell him no, this is not going to go very well." Another "person who frequently talks to Trump" agreed, specifying that aides have to control information that sets him off, Politico reports. "He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that."

"The truth of the matter is he had a successful inauguration with a respectful crowd. The transition of power went off without a hitch. His supporters were amiable by and large," presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told Politico. "But then he can never let go and stop watching cable TV. Now he's off to the worst start of a presidency in a very long time."

Other Trump friends said the new president is just being the "folksy" leader his supporters love, arguing that the media doesn't have much credibility. But even allies urged aides to contain Trump's worst impulses. "It's unconventional at best and disastrous at worst," said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), whose governorship was derailed when he disappeared to meet his foreign mistress, telling aides he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. "These distractions have the capacity to sink his entire administration." Peter Weber

January 22, 2017

The new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, insisted Saturday that Friday's inauguration hosted "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period," accusing the media of "intentionally" framing photos to make the crowd look smaller. President Trump made the same accusation during his speech at CIA headquarters Saturday, claiming the press reported 250,000 people attended rather than the "million and a half" he personally observed.

On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus argued that to focus on White House complaints about media reports on the size of the crowd is to miss the point. "President Trump said in his inaugural address that every decision he makes will be to benefit American families. How does arguing about crowd size do that?" asked Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. "Because it's really not about crowd size," Priebus answered. "It's about honesty in the media ... [which] from Day One has been talking about delegitimizing the election, talking about the Russians, talking about everything you can imagine except the fact that we need to move this country forward."

Despite his own protests, Priebus soon brought up aerial comparisons of the crowds at President Trump's inauguration and President Obama's event in 2009. "Well, there's another issue here, though, Reince, and that is the president's honesty," Wallace said, pulling up the side-by-side pictures, "because two things that he said yesterday were just flat wrong" — namely his discussion of crowd size and the acrimony between Trump and the intelligence community that Trump now says is a media invention. Watch Priebus' reply, and their full conversation, below. Bonnie Kristian

January 21, 2017

The official National Parks Service (NPS) Twitter account retweeted two posts critical of President Trump during his inauguration yesterday, one unfavorably comparing the crowd size at Trump's event to President Obama's 2009 inauguration and one noting changes to the White House website's issue pages.

The Trump team seems to have noticed, and, in an email obtained by Gizmodo, grounded the Parks Service from Twitter "until further notice." Parks that use Twitter for emergency announcements were ordered to "alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement" because the "expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to Twitter."

The "Twitter stand down means we will cease use of Twitter immediately," the email summarized. "However, there is no need to suspend or delete government accounts until directed." The note does not mention the two critical retweets, both of which have been deleted, but a park ranger told Gizmodo agency employees believe those posts are what prompted the directive.

Saturday morning, the main NPS account posted an apology tweet, seen below, suggesting the ban may be temporary. Bonnie Kristian

January 21, 2017

After initially opting for an art museum visit instead of tuning in to President Trump's inaugural address, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised Saturday to seek opportunities for cooperation with the new American administration.

"First, I believe firmly that it is best for all of us if we work together based on rules, common values, and joint action in the international economic system, in the international trade system, and make our contributions to the military alliances," said the de facto leader of the European Union. "And second, the trans-Atlantic relationship will not be less important in the coming years than it was in past years. And I will work on that. Even when there are different opinions, compromises and solutions can be best found when we exchange ideas with respect."

Also on Saturday, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, predicted a coming shift in Europe in favor of her nationalist populism. "2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up," she said, referencing Brexit and Trump's win. "I am sure 2017 will be the year the people of continental Europe wake up." Bonnie Kristian

January 21, 2017

President Donald Trump will spend his first morning in office at the National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral, following a longstanding tradition that dates to the United States' first president.

The interfaith ceremony will host 26 religious leaders representing the Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, and Baha'i traditions. Among notable attendees are Dr. Alveda King, a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King; Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center; and Cissie Graham Lynch, the granddaughter of evangelist Billy Graham.

The event "will be in keeping with the uniting and uplifting inaugural events, demonstrating President-elect Trump's commitment to be president for all Americans," said a statement from the inaugural committee before the inauguration. Bonnie Kristian

January 21, 2017

Hours after he was sworn in on Friday, President Trump signed an executive order making it his administration's official policy "to seek the prompt repeal" of the Affordable Care Act, though he can't repeal it without a bill from Congress. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the order's goal is "minimizing the economic burden" of "ObamaCare," giving the Health and Human Services Department and other federal agencies authority to try and ease the "fiscal burden" the law purportedly places on states, health care companies, and individuals. A Fox News poll on Thursday found that 50 percent of Americans view ObamaCare favorably and 46 percent unfavorably, a notable improvement in the law's standing from previous Fox News surveys.

Trump "has been told that he needs to comply with the law," Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, tells CNN, "but is directing the agencies to begin taking steps towards reducing regulatory requirements and giving more discretion to the states." Priebus also issued a memo telling all executive agencies to freeze pending regulations and delay enacting ones already approved. Such memoranda are pretty common for incoming administrations — former President Barack Obama's chief of staff issued a similar one in 2009.

Right after his inauguration, featuring a speech that scorched the do-nothing politicians in Washington, Trump had officially nominated his Cabinet choices in an office just off the Senate floor, surrounded by congressional leaders from both parties. It involved a lot of pen-swapping awkward jokes about who likes which Cabinet nominee. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 20, 2017

When WhiteHouse.gov abruptly switched over from the Obama administration to the Trump administration on Friday afternoon, President Trump's biography immediately popped up, with a technically correct and very Trumpian recounting of his business career and presidential victory. First lady Melania Trump's biography touted her modeling career — including her "major layouts" in "the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, Allure, Vogue, Self, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Elle" — plus her "numerous television commercials and television programs" ("including co-hosting The View with Barbara Walters") and her own business acumen.

"Melania is also a successful entrepreneur," the bio says. "In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection, 'Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry,' on QVC" — or at least it originally included that plug, according to The Washington Post. By Friday night, Melania Trump's bio just said that "in April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection." The Post gives some context: "It is not uncommon for the White House to note the accomplishments of the first lady in her official biography, but Trump's decision to include a detailed list of her media appearances and branded retail goods is unusual."

In any case, QVC told The Washington Post it no longer carries Trump's jewelry. Trump's biography also notes that her "penchant and passion for the arts, architecture, design, fashion, and beauty... can only be surpassed by her dedication to helping others, and her generosity has been noted." Her focus as first lady will be "issues impacting women and children," the bio concludes, "and she has focused her platform as first lady on the problem of cyber bullying among our youth." You can read more about Melania Trump and her life and work at WhiteHouse.gov. Peter Weber

January 20, 2017

At the Freedom Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., on Friday night, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump took the stage for their first dance to the song "My Way," made famous by the late Frank Sinatra and written by Paul Anka based on a French song by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. Trump had refused to rehearse the dance, CNN reports, and he set it up by talking about his victory in the presidential race, promising action and not talk, and marveling that the rain only poured once he was done with his inaugural speech. "My Way" was performed by a trio of vocalists:

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, came out halfway through — the Pences looked like they had rehearsed, or like dancing together — and Trump's children came out for the end of the song. Sinatra's daughter, Nancy Sinatra, wasn't necessarily impressed with Trump's selection for his first dance, saying on Twitter, "Just remember the first line of the song." Though, honestly, Anka's opening lyrics — "And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain" — is no less inappropriate an inauguration song than The Rolling Stones' "Heart of Stone." Peter Weber

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