Reince Priebus got into a heated clash with Chris Wallace on Sunday after the Fox News anchor confronted him about Mr Trump and his press secretary Sean Spicer’s claims that Friday’s inauguration had drawn the “largest crowd ever”.
During the Trump administration’s first White House press conference, Mr Spicer launched a seething attack on the media as he accused journalists of false reporting.
He said: “At a time when our nation and the world was watching the peaceful transition of power… some members of the media were engaged in deliberate and false reporting.
"Photographs of the inauguration process were intentionally framed in a way … to minimise the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall.”
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Reince Priebus accused the media of trying to delegitimise Donald Trump
Speaking to Fox News, Mr Priebus brushed off the claims the press secretary had misrepresented facts as he said: “The point is not the crowd size.
“There's an obsession by the media to delegitimise this President.
“We are not going to sit around and let it happen. We are going to fight back, tooth and nail every day and twice on Sunday.”
Refusing to accept Mr Priebus’s dismissal of the White House’s assertions, the Fox News host asked him to look at the aerial photos from Mr Trump’s inauguration and one of Barack Obama’s back in 2009.
After formally taking office President Trump vowed to rebuild America
There's an obsession by the media to delegitimise this President
And as he challenged the chief of staff to tell him which had the largest crowd, Mr Priebus snapped: “You're also not saying that that picture was taken before [Trump] was even speaking.”
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“I was there, I was there on the mall,” Wallace interjected, but to no avail as Mr Trump’s chief of staff insisted the crowd went all the way back to Washington Monument.
He said: “You can keep putting the picture up, wait a second. I could take an aerial picture right now, Chris, and I can say, 'Look at the difference. If you're not comparing apples to apples, it doesn't matter.”
During his first full day in office, Donald Trump also addressed the images, which have gone viral online, and accused the media of misrepresenting facts.
The best photos from Donald Trump's historic inauguration
Mon, January 23, 2017
The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States will mark the commencement of the four-year term of Donald Trump as President and Mike Pence as Vice President. A public ceremony will be held on Friday, January 20, 2017.
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President Donald Trump waves as he walks with first lady Melania Trump and son Barron during the inauguration parade.
The 70-year-old said the crowds “went all the way back to the Washington Monument” despite photographic and video evidence appearing to show the crowds stopped well short of the national landmark.
He described the reporting as “shameful” and threatened a “big price” would be paid by reporters who allegedly lied about the numbers attending.
Mr Trump said: "Honestly it looked like a million and a half people, whatever it was, it was. But it went all the way back to the Washington monument."
Speaking from the CIA headquarters, the billionaire also accused reporters of being among the “most dishonest human beings on Earth”.
Unofficial estimates put the Washington crowd at around 250,000, while Mr Spicer cited figures which put those attending the event at 720,000.