'Is it always your intention to tell the truth?': ABC reporter challenges Trump press secretary after weekend berating

ABC reporter Jonathan Karl pressed White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday over his inaccurate claims about the size of inaugural crowds.

During what President Donald Trump's team dubbed the "first official press briefing," Karl confronted Spicer about his Saturday statement that Trump's inauguration was the "largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe," despite contrary evidence.

37 PHOTOS
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
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Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
Outgoing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer waves as he walks into the White House in Washington, U.S., July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price (L-R), Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speak to reporters after the Congressional Budget Office released its score on proposed Republican health care legislation at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

White House Communications Director Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 2, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) takes questions during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer conducted his first official White House daily briefing to take questions from the members of the White House press corps.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

White House spokesman Sean Spicer takes questions during his press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Trump aide Omarosa Manigault (C) watches as White House spokesman Sean Spicer (R) arrives for a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Rivals Brad Woodhouse (left) and Sean Spicer pose for a photograph outside Bullfeathers in Washington, D.C. on November 08, 2011. Sean Spicer and Brad Woodhouse (spokesmen for the RNC and DNC) hosts Congressional and other flacks to the 1st Annual 'Flacks for Flacks Who Wear Flak Jackets' Benefiting Military Public Affairs Officers serving in Afghanistan.

(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds up paperwork highlighting and comparing language about the National Security Council from the Trump administration and previous administrations during the daily press briefing at the White House, January 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday that he will reveal his 'unbelievably highly respected' pick to replace the late Supreme Court Antonin Scalia on Tuesday evening. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer leaves after a daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room February 14, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. Spicer discussed on various topics including the resignation of Michael Flynn from his position as National Security Adviser. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Trump advisor Steve Bannon (2L), White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), and White House spokesman Sean Spicer look on before the announcement of the Supreme Court nominee at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer removes lint from Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller's jacket as he waits to go on the air in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, center, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

White House Director of Oval Office Operations Keith Schiller (L) carries a red USA hat and a copy of Fortune magazine with U.S. President Donald Trump on the cover as he and Communications Director Sean Spicer (R) deplane from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Sean Spicer, left, is the new communications director for the Republican National Committee, and Rick Wiley, is the RNC� new political director.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a 'hallmark of our democracy.'

(Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stands alongside his wife, Mary Pat, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L), as US President Donald Trump signs House Joint Resolution 41, which removes some Dodd-Frank regulations on oil and gas companies, during a bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 14, 2017. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. This was Spicer's first press conference as Press Secretary where he spoke about the media's reporting on the inauguration's crowd size.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Stephen Miller(L) and Sean Spicer, arrive to meet with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on January 10, 2017.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. This was Spicer's first press conference as Press Secretary where he spoke about the media's reporting on the inauguration's crowd size.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer takes a photo with his cell phone on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the House Republican Conference, updates waiting media on progress of the meeting as House Republicans, eager to put a fresh face on their leadership team as they head into difficult November elections, chose John A. Boehner of Ohio as their new majority leader. Boehner beat out interim Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri on the second ballot, 122-109. John Shadegg of Arizona, a late entrant into the race, was knocked out on the first ballot, when he drew 40 votes to 79 for Boehner and 110 for Blunt. Jim Ryun of Kansas drew two votes.

(Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, incoming press secretary for President-elect Donald Trump leaves from Trump Tower after meetings on January 5, 2017, in New York.

(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief Strategist and Communications Director at the Republican National Committee, Sean Spicer is interviewed in his office at the committee's headquarters on Monday August 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)

National security adviser General Michael Flynn (L) arrives to deliver a statement next to Press Secretary Sean Spicer during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer conducted his first official White House daily briefing to take questions from the members of the White House press corps.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks as television screen displays journalists who participate in the daily briefing via Skype at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

President Donald Trump gestures to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) as he makes remarks to the press as he sits down for a working lunch with members of his cabinet and their spouses, including Veteran's Administration Secretary David Shulkin (2nd R) at Trump National Golf Club, Potomac Falls,Virginia, in suburban Washington, U.S., March 11, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
POTOMAC FALLS, VA - MARCH 11: White House Pres Secretary Sean Spicer briefs the press pool as President Donald Trump has a working lunch with staff and cabinet members and significant others at his golf course, Trump National on March 11, 2017 in Potomac Falls, Virginia. (Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: White House Press secretary Sean Spicer points as he answers questions from members of the media and reporters, seen reflected in an exit sign, during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
(COMBO)(FILES) This combination of file pictures created on July 21, 2017 shows former assistant to US President Donald Trump Anthony Scaramucci attending a meeting on the opening day of the World Economic Forum, on January 17, 2017 in Davos, and White House spokesman Sean Spicer during a press briefing on June 20, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary Friday in protest at a major shakeup of Donald Trump's embattled administration, an official told AFP. Spicer -- the administrations most recognizable face after the president -- resigned after just six months in office, having been increasingly sidelined in recent weeks. Spicer reached breaking point on Friday, the White House official said, when Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci to be the new communications director, a bid to reset the scandal-wracked administration. / AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI AND NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI,NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer briefs members of the media during a daily briefing at the White House July 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
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"Is it always your intention to tell the truth on that podium, and do you pledge to never to knowingly say something that is not factual?" Karl asked.

Spicer said that his intention was "never to lie" to reporters, and that the administration and journalists could "disagree on the facts."

He added: "I'm going to come out here and tell you the facts as I know them, and if I make a mistake, I'll do my best to correct it."

The crowd size at Friday's inauguration became the source of debate after Trump asserted on Saturday that more than a million people attended the inauguration.

There are no official government estimates of the crowd size, but independent estimates put the crowd at closer to 250,000 attendees, while photographic evidence comparing Trump's inauguration to past inaugurations and metro ridership statistics suggested that the number was far lower than the White House claimed.

Spicer also attempted to point out media errors, noting Time reporter Zeke Miller's inaccurate Friday report that the Marin Luther King Jr. bust in the Oval Office was removed, a brief report that Miller quickly corrected and apologized.

"You're in the same boat. There are times when you tweet something out or you write a story and you publish a correction. That doesn't mean that you were intentionally trying to deceived the American people, does it?" Spicer said. "And I think that we should be afforded the same opportunity."

Spicer claimed that the information he was provided on Saturday was given to him by the inaugural committee that "came from an outside agency," and highlighted the millions of television and streaming viewers.

The press secretary asserted that he never claimed that the inauguration had the largest in-person audience, saying he always meant the total audience of viewers for the inauguration.

"I didn't say in person, both in-person and around the globe to witness it," Spicer said. "I don't know how I could interpret that differently. That's literally what I said. To witness it both in person and around the globe.

Later in the press conference, Spicer said that it was "not about the crowd size," citing commentary and punditry suggesting that Trump could not win key states in the 2016 election.

"There is this constant theme to undercut the enormous support that he has. And I think it is unbelievable frustrating when you're told it's not big enough, it's not good enough, you can't win," Spicer said.

22 PHOTOS
Scenes from Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C.
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Scenes from Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C.
guests fill hte West Front of the US Caaptol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017, before the swearing-in ceremony of US President-elect Donald Trump. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, left, wipes the shoulder of U.S. President Barack Obama while standing outside of the White House ahead of the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Trump is the first president since the dawn of national polling in the late 1930s to enter office with the approval of fewer than half of Americans -- in his case only 40 percent. Photographer: TKTK/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: (L-R) Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, Vanessa Trump and Jared Kushner arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: The presidential motorcade drives down Pennsylvania Ave towards the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush wave as they arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Former President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US Chief Justice John Roberts (C-front) arrives with US justice William Rehnquist (L) on the platform of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017, before the swearing-in ceremony of US President-elect Donald Trump. / AFP / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Former U.S. Preident George W. Bush and former first landy Laura Bush arrive at the swearing in ceremony at the United States Capitol January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Donald J. Trump will become the 45th President of the United States today. (Photo by Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017. / AFP / POOL / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: President Elect Donald Trump arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: President Elect Donald Trump arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
US President elect Donald Trump (R) and Vice President elect Mike Pence seat during the swearing-in ceremony on in front of the Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2017. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as his wife Karen Pence looks on, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: President Elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Vice President Mike Pence on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President elect Donald Trump (C) salutes his daughter Ivanka and other family members during the swearing-in ceremony on in front of the Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2017. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as President on January 20, 2017 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Attendees listen as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States today, in a celebration of American unity for a country that is anything but unified. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees stand during the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States today, in a celebration of American unity for a country that is anything but unified. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump(L) wait with former President Barack Obama(2nd-R) and Michelle obama before their departure from the US Capitol after Trump's inauguration ceremonies at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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Spicer's comments on Saturday raised concern from a number of former White House officials.

Former President Barack Obama's second press secretary Jay Carney took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with Spicer's insistence on the crowd size.

During an appearance on CBS on Monday, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleisher urged Spicer to correct his error.

"It concerns me, it's one thing to take on the press — that's a time-honored tradition in Washington, D.C," Fleisher said.

"The part about how people showed up in the audience at the inauguration, who cares, it's not worth fighting over."

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