Trump offers scattershot response to global protests
President Donald Trump on Sunday offered a scattershot response to the sweeping post-inauguration protests against his new administration, sarcastically undermining the public opposition and then defending demonstrators' rights a short time later.
"Watched protests yesterday, but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly," tweeted Trump, at 7:51 a.m.
Ninety-five minutes later, he struck a more conciliatory tone.
"Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognise the rights of people to express their views," the president tweeted at 9:26 a.m.
While Trump has said that he considers Monday his first real day in office, his discordant reaction underscored that the new president has little intention of changing the defiant approach that defined his campaign - particularly when it comes to the media and those who oppose him.
The duelling tweets marked his administration's first response to the more than one million people who rallied at women's marches in Washington and cities across the world. Hundreds of protesters lined the street as Trump's motorcade drove past on Saturday afternoon, with many screaming and chanting.
The Washington rally appeared to attract more people than attended Trump's inauguration on Friday, but there were no completely comparable numbers. Regional transportation officials tweeted on Sunday that 1,001,616 trips were taken on the rail system on Saturday. Metro spokesman Dan Stessel had said that on Friday, the day of Donald Trump's inauguration, just over 570,000 trips were taken on the rail system.
Even suggestions of weak enthusiasm for his inauguration clearly irked the new president.