RUSH: Sean Spicer at the press briefing. The fireworks haven’t begun yet. He’s still doing the opening statement. I hope he gets to some questions here before we have to break again, but here we go, Sean Spicer, White House.
SPICER: — Frank Spencer, United Brotherhood Carpenters, Doug McCarron, general president, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Mark Coles of Ironworkers Local 5, Joseph Sellers junior, the general president of the Sheet Metal Workers union, slash, smart union. (unintelligible) Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 24, Mark Rokowsky, United Association Local 5, Steven Dodd, the Sheet Metal Workers union, slash, smart union, Gary Messino, the Sheet Metal Workers union, smart union. The president has been honored to receive tremendous support from union working men and women on Election Day and he’s dedicated to growing —
RUSH: Take this down. Let me explain what’s going on here, folks. This briefing’s been underway here for about five or ten minutes and what Spicer’s doing is basically establishing all the support that Trump has had, the things that have happened, that the president has signed and preparing to sign and all that. I think the purpose of this right now is for Spicer to lay out a foundation of just how much support there is for the president already and how it has manifested itself, and it’s setting up the questions which are to come. I don’t know how long the briefing period’s gonna go on here before it gets to questions, but here’s some more of it.
SPICER: — the White House chief of staff, our chief strategist, chief of staff to the vice president, and chiefs of staff from those respective offices. The purpose of the meeting is to get the president’s agenda moving through Congress. The American people are frustrated with the lack of —
RUSH: Remember, these people have a whole different view now of what the press briefing’s all about, and I think we’re seeing this here. It’s gonna have an entirely different format, purpose. We’ll see.
SPICER: — during this meeting. It’s important to know that at this point in 2009 President Obama had seven of his nominees confirmed on day one and five more in the first week. As it stands today, we have two. Democrats even held up the confirmation of CIA director Mike Pompeo, needlessly leaving one of our most important national security agencies without its top leader on day one.
It’s time for Senate Democrats to stop playing political games with the core functions of government and to allow President Trump’s unquestionably qualified and talented group of cabinet nominees to get to work on behalf of the American people. Rounding out today’s schedule after the reception that I mentioned he will have dinner with — or have a meeting with the House speaker, Paul Ryan. They will discuss the Republican legislative agenda and strategy going forward.
Early in the day the president nominated former New Mexico congresswoman Heather Wilson as the next secretary of the Air Force. She grew up in Keene, New Hampshire and made history as part of the 3rd U.S. Air Force Academy class that included women. She earned her master’s degree and doctoral degrees as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in England and then served as an Air Force officer in Europe during the Cold War and —
RUSH: Okay. We’re gonna have to bump out of this maximum one minute from now anyway. As I was saying, what Spicer, he talked about Trump’s phone call with el-Sisi in Egypt who Obama hated and ignored as much as he could, talked about Trump’s schedule today, which includes meeting with union heads later this afternoon, got a meeting with Paul Ryan coming up.
Talked about the lack of support from the Democrats on confirming cabinet appointees, pointing out that on the first day Obama had seven, the Republicans confirmed seven. Of course, he was the first African-American president and there weren’t gonna be any traditional political delays. But Spicer pointed out that the Democrats have only allowed two votes so far and have reneged on a deal to confirm Pompeo at the CIA.
So the press is sitting there listening to all this outraged. This doesn’t mean anything to them. Trump’s schedule, who Trump’s meeting with, who Trump did meet with. This is supposed to be where the press gets to tear into Spicer and Trump. And Spicer is not letting them. We’re gonna take a break and we’re gonna miss some of the questioning but our machines are rolling and we will capture whatever highlights there are and be able to share them with you as the program unfolds.
RUSH: The press briefing’s going on. Julie Pace of the AP just asked a question. I’ll tell you what’s happened so far in a moment, but let’s listen to a little bit of this together to get a flavor of it.
SPICER: — something that either protects America or is in our economic interests. John Roberts?
ROBERTS: Couple things, if I could. Later this week in his executive actions, uh, does the president plan to take action to green light the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines? And on TPP —
ROBERTS: — John McCain says it was a serious mistake to do what the president did for America’s economy and for our strategic position in the Asian-Pacific. Why was TPP the right thing to do? (crosstalk)
RUSH: That’s John Roberts of Fox News asking this question.
SPICER: Why was it the right thing to do?
ROBERTS: Why was it the right thing to do?
SPICER: To what?
ROBERTS: To repeal TPP.
SPICER: Oh! I think I said it, because I think the multinational… When you enter into these multinational agreement you’re allowing any country no matter the size — any one of those 12 including us — to basically have the same stature as the United States in the agreement. So we’re basically on par with some very small companies who are getting access to an amazing market, the United States. And in return, we’re negotiating at the lowest common denominator. And you think when you look at big multinational agreements, multilateral agreements, they’re not always in the best interests of the United States. The beautiful thing about a bilateral agreement is any one of the two parties in the agreement decides that at any time they want to get out of the agreement or they’re not being treated fairly, they can renegotiate it much easier. In a multinational agreement, that’s not the case.
RUSH: All right. Take this down for a minute. Let me explain so far what has happened. Spicer has called on the evangelical Christian Broadcast Network News for a question. Can you imagine the exploding heads over that? The question was about abortion. He’s called on a Fox Business News reporter. He’s announced the White House is adding four Skype seats to the briefing room for news outlets that are 50 miles or more away. He’s got a preselected list of reporters to call on. Obama regularly did that at his press conferences. His press secretaries never did. So this is new, the press secretary with a list. They’re probably going to whine about that. Okay, let’s JIP it here a little bit more.
SPICER: — maximize our use of natural resources for America’s benefit. It’s good for economic growth, good for jobs, and good for American energy. Jonathan Karl.
RUSH: ABC News here.
KARL: Thanks for being here, your first week. (unintelligible)
SPICER: Thank you.
KARL: Uh, before I get to a policy question, just a question about the nature of your job.
KARL: Is it your intention to always tell the truth from that podium and —
RUSH: (busts out laughing) Ha! Ha!”
KARL: — do you pledge never to knowingly say something that is not true?
RUSH: Did we tune in at the right time or what? (laughing)
SPICER: It’s an honor to do this, and yes, I believe that we have to be honest with the American people. I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. There are certain things that we may mis… we may not fully understand when we come out but our intention is never to lie to you, Jonathan. Our job is to make sure that sometimes…
SPICER: You’re in the same boat. There are times when you guys tweet something out or write a story, and you publish a correction. That doesn’t mean that you were intentionally trying to deceive readers and the American people.
RUSH: Yes, it does!
SPICER: I think we should be afforded the same opportunity. There are times when we believe something to be true or we get something from an agency or we act in haste because the information available wasn’t complete, when our desire to communicate with the American people and make sure —
RUSH: I wouldn’t give ’em an inch on this. I wouldn’t go — I — (crosstalk)
SPICER: — but again I think when you look net-net, we’re gonna do our best every time we can. I’m gonna come out here and tell you the facts as I know ’em.
RUSH: Damn straight, we’re not gonna lie to you, you clown!
SPICER: But I don’t —
RUSH: What the hell kind of question is that?
SPICER: It is a two-way street. There are many mistakes the media makes all the time.
RUSH: Right on!
SPICER: They misreport something. They don’t report something. They get their facts wrong.
RUSH: Right on.
SPICER: I don’t think that’s always, you know, to turn around and say, “Okay, you were intentionally lying.”
RUSH: Yes, it is.
SPICER: I think we all go, try to do our best jobs and do it with a degree of integrity —
RUSH: No, they don’t!
SPICER: — in our respective industries.
KARL: Do you have any corrections that you would like to make or clarifications on what —
SPICER: Sure. I mean, ask away, Jonathan.
KARL: You know, I’m just… I don’t want to get — re-litigate the whole issue but just take one like the issue of Metro ridership. You made a statement about Metro ridership —
SPICER: We did. And at the time the information that was provided by the inaugural committee came from an outside agency that we reported on. And I think knowing what we know now we can tell that Ramada’s numbers were different. But we were trying to provide numbers that we had been provided. That wasn’t like me made them up out of thin air.
KARL: And you stand by your statement that that was the most watched inaugural address in history?
SPICER: Sure! It was the most watched inaugural. You look at…
SPICER: You look at just one network alone got 16.9 million people online. Another network… Tens of millions of people that watched that on line. Never mind the audience that was here, 31 million people watched it on television. Combine that with the tens of millions of people that watched it online on a device.
SPICER: It’s not questionable.
SPICER: And I don’t see any numbers that dispute that. When you add up attendance, viewership, total audience in terms of tablets, phones, on television, I’d love to see any information that proves that otherwise.
RUSH: Obama was on his BlackBerry watching it.
RUSH: What the heck?
SPICER: Do you dispute that?
KARL: (long pause) Well, I — I — I don’t want to — to get into numbers.
SPICER: Well, I do!
KARL: (sputtering) I — I — I — I —
RUSH: You brought it up! What do you mean, you don’t want to get into numbers?
SPICER: I’m just saying, if you ask me a question about my integrity —
KARK: You brought it up!
SPICER: — I have a right to say, “If you add up the network streaming numbers, Facebook, YouTube, all of the various live streams —
RUSH: “I don’t want to get into the numbers”?
SPICER: — I don’t think there’s any question that it was the largest watched inauguration ever.
KARL: (pause) More than Ronald Reagan’s in 1981…?
SPICER: I’m pretty sure that Reagan —
RUSH: Take it down a minute. What’s gonna happen from now on, the rest of the day into tomorrow the subject’s gonna be, “Did Spicer lie? Did Trump lie?” They’re gonna focus on “the most watched inaugural.” That’s what’s been set up here. Okay, bring it back up.
SPICER: That’s a little higher. So I’m just saying, I’m not… You’re asking me for numbers. There’s just two entities together.
KARL: (stammering) And — and — and — the — the — the — the approach that you took on Saturday, any second thoughts on that…? (crosstalk)
SPICER: Look, I think we’re gonna… Jonathan, look, I want this to —
KARL: Taking no questions, y’know?
SPICER: Huh? I came up to read a statement and I did it. We’re here today. I’m gonna stay here as long as you want. So I want to make sure that —
RUSH: Did these clowns ever ask Josh Earnest if he was lying to them?
SPICER: (crosstalk) Look, I want to make sure —
RUSH: Did they ever ask that Jay Carney guy if he was telling them the truth?
SPICER: (crosstalk) And I’m not trying to rehash history, but you’re asking the question so I’m gonna answer it.
RUSH: That’s right; that’s right. They are.
SPICER: We had a tweet go out about Martin Luther King. Think about how racially charged that is, and someone rushes out and says to the entire press corps that the president of the United States has removed the bust from his office. Do you…? I mean, think about what this signals…
SPICER: Hold on.
KARL: He did correct himself and apologize.
SPICER: No, no. He actually apologized to, quote, “my colleagues.” That’s the exact quote. Okay? That quote, that report got tweeted out around. And to report… Where was the apology to the president of the United States? Where was it?
RUSH: There hasn’t been one.
SPICER: Where was the apology to millions of people who read that and thought how racially insensitive that was.
RUSH: That hasn’t been one.
SPICER: Okay, I’m asking: Where was that apology?
RUSH: There hasn’t been one.
SPICER: I’m just saying: When things like that happen, when John Lewis says that he’s never approached — never missed an inauguration —
SPICER: — and we find out, actually, he did. He skipped George W. Bush’s.
SPICER: There are points at which we have a right to make sure that we correct the record.
RUSH: Damn right.
SPICER: I mean, you’re talking about integrity and you’re talking about telling the truth and facts. I don’t know that it was malicious at all. I’m not saying. But there’s a point at which we have a right to go out there and correct the record. And I think that — (crosstalk)
RUSH: No, you don’t. That’s the key! You don’t have that right. You’re supposed to sit there and eat whatever lie they tell.
SPICER: There’s this attempt to go after this president and say, “Well, that can’t be true and that’s not true and the numbers weren’t there,” and there’s a rush to judgment every time. And it’s a two-way street. We want to have a healthy and open dialogue with the press corps and with the American people about what he’s doing to help this country, to unite it. But at a time when he’s trying to unite us, and he keeps talking about uniting this nation, bringing us together, and then a tweet goes out to a pool of a few thousand people saying he removed the bust of Martin Luther King, how do you think that goes over?
KARL: Sean, did — did — did the media invent the feud between the president and the intelligence community?
SPICER: Look, I’m not… I think that you saw from the response the other day. He walked into the CIA. People were hooting and hollering. They gave him a five-minute standing ovation. That doesn’t look like a relationship that’s…. I mean, that’s… I mean, they were excited to meet him!
RUSH: This is exactly right. I was talking about this earlier.
SPICER: — the difference is —
RUSH: The misreporting at the CIA today.
SPICER: (crosstalk) — having differences with intelligence leaders when the leaders of that community who had strong differences with, and the people — and the men and women — who toil every single day in our intelligence community, and it was reflected at the CIA.
SPICER: I mean, they came there. They were so excited. There were a thousand people that applied for 300-plus seats and we ended up taking in 400 people. That doesn’t sound like a huge feud. They were excited, they were clapping, they were cheering when he walked in. And to see reports that made it sound like there was some fence mending that needed to happen? It sure didn’t look that way when he walked in. I’m gonna move on.
REPORTER: Sean, can I ask what is the U.S. strategic interest in moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and also, in the chat to President el-Sisi today was the status of the Muslim Brotherhood discussed?
SPICER: Well, I think the readout… I just gave you the readout on the call with President el-Sisi and I think that speaks for itself what was discussed, and…
RUSH: That’s enough. We got a good flavor for this. The first question, by the way, or the first media organization that Spicer called on was the New York Post. Not the New York Times. The New York Post! And he called on the Christian Broadcast Network and some other conventional media but nowhere near the top of the list. But you heard the exchange.
It starts, did Jonathan Karl of ABC ever say to Josh Earnest, “Josh, are you going to commit to telling us the truth on this podium every day? Are you going to lie to us?” Ever ask Jay Carney that question? And Spicer just shoveled it right back at ’em, and the story on the Martin Luther King bust being removed, that was TIME magazine that did that.
And this CIA business, I talked to you about this earlier today, that Trump visit to the CIA was not the disaster they’re portraying it to be. He was well received over there. And he went over there to show his support for the organization. You’ve got people in there, like I say, you have at the defense department, you’ve got a lot of people opposed to Trump and all of these cabinet agencies, they’re career Democrats, career leftists, and you’ve got some people that support him. And the people that don’t are the ones that leak to the media, that report to the media. The media eats it up and can’t wait to report the negative stuff.
Folks, Trump doesn’t have anybody backing him up here. Spicer is out there all by himself, everybody in that room, the Drive-By Media, there may be some media exceptions in there, but he doesn’t have support in the media like Obama had. He doesn’t have support in the Washington establishment like Obama did. Not that he should, don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying it’s really, really, really going to be crucial for Trump supporters to maintain that support and to show it, to demonstrate it as this war continues to rage and unfold.
RUSH: Here’s an exchange between a reporter and Spicer on global warming, folks.
REPORTER: 2016 was it is highest one year in record, and the last three years have been the hottest three years on record. Scientists are saying that we’re getting dangerously to the point where human civilization is being threatened. How does President Trump plan to address this?
SPICER: Well, I think he’s gonna meet with his team, figure out what policies are best for the environment. One of the things that he talked about during the campaign is there’s a balance, and he’s trying to make sure that we use our resources appropriately, that we maximize things to make sure that we don’t do so at the detriment of economic growth and job creation. So there’s a balance and I don’t think it’s an either/or situation. We can ensure that we are doing things that are smart for the environment and smart for our longevity as well as making sure that we’re doing things that create economic growth and job creation.