Donald Trump is proving just as combative a president as he was a presidential candidate.
Barely a day has passed since his inauguration, and the new President has already resumed his war with the media. Their crime on this occasion? To have revealed that Trump’s inauguration drew a smaller crowd than Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
That Obama’s inauguration should have drawn the larger audience shouldn’t surprise. Obama’s inauguration was that of America’s first black President. It was a moment of great significance, relief and hope given America’s troubled history.
Furthermore, Obama was very popular. He carried himself with dignity. He employed his voice to brilliant effect, his oratory entrancing his audiences. Audiences might forget what he had said afterwards, but they bound to appreciate his gravitas and the symbolic significance of the moment.
A partisan comparison – but it shouldn’t matter
It could be tempting to sympathise with Trump in this matter. The media is being churlish to make the comparison, which is unfavourable to Trump. Such a partisan comparison unnecessary and of limited interest.
But the truth is, it doesn’t matter. Trump has become President – he doesn’t need a fawning media. He should ignore any jibes and just get on with the job.
Trump won’t let it pass
Sadly, Trump hasn’t risen above the affair. Instead, a spokesman for the president claimed that Trump’s inauguration garnered a larger audience, while offering no evidence:
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe”
The pictures clearly showed a larger crowd at Obama’s inauguration. On the basis of that evidence, few people are likely to believe the spokesman.
This was an angry – and quite possibly dishonest – intervention on a fundamentally trivial matter. President Trump will have only lent credence to the view that he is thin-skinned. Another battle lost because engaged in.