WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump paid a visit to the CIA headquarters in Virginia on Saturday afternoon, where he addressed a group of about 300 workers at the intelligence agency.
“It is true, this is my first stop, officially,” the president said.
Trump told the workers that they are really special and amazing people and that “I am so behind you.”
“I love you. I respect you. There’s no one I respect more. We’re going to start winning again, and you’re going to be leading that change,” the president said.
In addition to his remarks, he received a briefing from senior staff.
The visit from the new president signals a thawing of relations between the new president and the intelligence community. During the campaign and after he was elected, Trump repeatedly voiced skepticism about findings by U.S. intelligence agencies — including conclusions that Russia attempted to influence the election to help him win the White House.
On Saturday, he denied there was ever tension.
“The media, among the most dishonest human beings, they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intel community,” Trump said. “Exactly the opposite.”
Towards the end of his remarks, Trump also accused the media of lying about the size of the crowds at Friday’s inauguration, claiming that the crowd reached the Washington monument.
At a separate press briefing, Trump’s press secretary declared that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience in history “both in person and around the globe.” Sean Spicer insisted that, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”
It is not known how many people watched the ceremony on television around the globe. In the U.S., Nielsen estimates 31 million viewers watched TV coverage, but that’s less than Barack Obama’s and Ronald Reagan’s first inaugurations.
On the ground in Washington, crowds on Friday were noticeably smaller than those of some previous inaugurations. Photos of the National Mall make clear that the crowd did not extend to the Washington Monument, as it did for the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama.
Spicer convened reporters at the White House during Trump’s first full day in office to accuse them of engaging in “deliberately false reporting.” He claimed that photographs of the inauguration were intentionally framed in a way to minimize the crowd.
The president opened his first full day as president Saturday at a prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington, the final piece of transition business for the nation’s new chief executive before a promised full-on shift into governing.
Trump will welcome Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May to the White House next week. She will be one of the first foreign leaders to meet with the president following the inauguration, and the two are expected to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump also has a meeting scheduled with Mexican Prime Minister Enrique Pena Nieto later this month.
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