President Donald Trump reportedly phoned the acting director of the National Park service on the first full day of his presidency to dispute the widely circulated photos of Trump’s inauguration crowd.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Trump personally pressured park service chief Michael Reynolds to produce additional photographs of the previous days’ crowds on the National Mall. Trump reportedly believed that the photos might prove that the news media had lied about the attendance.
Reynolds produced the photos as the White House requested, according to The Post. Photos taken that day made clear that crowds didn't extend to the Lincoln Memorial as Trump later asserted, and that his claim of 1 million to 1.5 million people in attendance was wrong.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee said of the call, "President Trump is someone who takes action and gets things done — this is one of the reasons he won and Hillary didn't."
Trump had also expressed anger over a retweet sent from the park service’s account, in which side-by-side photographs showed far fewer people at his swearing-in than had shown up to see President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009, the Post reported.
The call from Trump came after the Interior Department briefly suspended park service accounts and others run by the department in response to the retweeted photos and another tweet that pointed out that webpages about some issues, including climate change, had been removed from the White House site. The Interior Department accounts were reactivated the next day.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer reiterated Trump’s remarks over the media coverage in a blistering briefing later that day.
“These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong,” Spicer said.
Park service employees launched a Twitter campaign against Trump this week. After three climate-science tweets by Badlands National Park were deleted, several other parks posted tweets related to climate change in an apparent show of solidarity and defiance.
Trump has called climate change a hoax, and many readers saw the climate-related tweets as a message of defiance to the new president.
Tom Crosson, the chief spokesman for the park service, said there is no restriction on agency use of Twitter or other social media.
"There's no gag order on national parks that would prevent people from tweeting," he said Wednesday.
Trump used is Twitter account during the campaign to bash opponents and share his messages directly to his supporters. But government policy indicates that any agency must agree with the contents of whatever it shares on social media.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.