There’s a huge problem with The Washington Post’s story claiming President Donald Trump “pressured” the National Parks Service into handing over photos of his inauguration crowd. There’s no evidence in the story to back up the assertion he was out of bounds.
The story spun up what appears to be a simple phone call from the president asking for something into a menacing threat made by an out of control leader. But while the personal phone call may make Trump look insecure, he was well within his right as the president to issue orders to agencies that report to his office. And there’s no evidence from WaPo’s story that he threatened the agency in any way, or “pressured” Reynolds to lie about the crowd size.
Citing three “individuals who have knowledge of the conversation,” WaPo reports Trump personally called the agency and asked to speak with its director, Michael Reynolds. When Reynolds called him back, the president “ordered” him to produce photos of the inauguration crowd size, according to WaPo, and expressed anger over a tweet from the agency comparing his crowd size with former President Barack Obama’s crowd size.
“The president believed that the photos might prove that the media had lied in reporting that attendance had been no better than average,” WaPo reports. The White House confirmed the call took place, saying it demonstrates Trump’s management style of being “accessible” and “constantly in touch.”
WaPo went with the headline, “Trump pressured Park Service to find proof for his claims about inauguration crowd.”
A more accurate reading would have been that Trump ordered them to produce more images and expressed regret they felt the need to stoke the media by comparing his crowd size to that of the first black president in U.S. history.
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