According to the White House, Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd was the largest in American history. Trump also said that when he looked out from the podium, he thought he was looking at 1.5 million people. Is the size of the crowd at his inauguration the most important issue facing our country? Absolutely not. However, Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, scolded the media for reports on the crowd size in his first press conference without taking any questions.
“Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall,” Spicer said.
“This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”
Spicer also said that Trump’s inauguration was the first time in history that the grounds were covered to protect the grass. The noticeable parts of this white covering were used by many on social media to gauge the crowd size compared to previous inaugurations. Spicer also said that magnetometers and fencing restricted hundreds of thousands of people from accessing the grounds as quickly as in other inaugurations. The only problem with those statements is they’ve been proven to be incorrect.
CNN’s Jim Acosta took to Twitter to report that not only did a Secret Service source tell him that no magnetometers were used on the National Mall, but that the same grass coverings were used at Obama’s inauguration. Oh, and what about the Trump inauguration crowd size being the largest in history? That’s also incorrect.
A USSS spokesperson tells us no magnetometers were used on the National Mall for Trump’s inauguration.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 22, 2017
Pic of crews laying down white ground coverings at Obama inaugural in 2013 courtesy Getty images pic.twitter.com/rBDi8tdekZ
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 22, 2017
The National Park Service said in 2009 that Obama’s inauguration attracted the largest crowd in history to the National Mall. The Washington Post reports that 570,557 riders used the Metro system for Trump’s inauguration. Obama’s inaugurations in 2009 and 2013 saw 1.1 million and 782,000 trips.
According to a New York Times report, the crowd at the Women’s March on Washington was three times larger than the crowd at Trump’s inauguration. Marcel Altenburg and Keith Still, crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, analyzed photographs and videos taken of the National Mall before, during, and after both events. They believe that 160,000 people were at the National Mall in the hour leading up to Trump’s inauguration, whereas the Women’s March saw a crowd of around 470,000 people.
“The scientists said Mr. Trump would only have seen the tightly packed front third of the crowd, but not the back two-thirds, from his position at the podium. To make their estimates, they monitored seven live feeds all day, including those from perspectives that someone at the podium would not have been able to perceive.”
Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide to the president, was on “Meet The Press” on Sunday and was confronted about the incorrect statements Spicer made about the crowd size. Chuck Todd asked why Spicer would undermine the credibility of the White House press on day one.
Kellyanne: “Sean Spicer…gave alternative facts”
Chuck: “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.” pic.twitter.com/3rhkEwsWRO
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) January 22, 2017
“Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck,” Conway quipped. “Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.”
“Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods,” Todd replied.
The second day of Trump’s presidency was dominated by a debate on who had the largest crowd size: the Women’s March on Washington, or Trump’s inauguration. Conway’s slip of the tongue by uttering “alternative facts” would have been avoided if Spicer didn’t hold a press conference to challenge reports based on photographic proof. Were the viral side-by-side images taken unfair to Trump? Possibly. However, does anyone truly care? Apparently, the White House sure does.
It’s been over two days since Trump was sworn in as president. There has been little talk about how Trump broke the contract with his voters. Trump gave a speech in the final weeks of his campaign laying out a long list of things he would accomplish within the first 24 hours as president.
He pledged to cancel every unconstitutional executive action signed by Barack Obama, cancel funds to sanctuary cities, initiate the removal of 2 million criminal illegal aliens, and suspend immigration from terror-prone regions around the world.
In the now broken contact with the American voter, Trump also promised to renegotiate NAFTA, announce the nation’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, label China a currency manipulator, and many more. But instead of holding a press conference to explain why Trump hasn’t fulfilled his campaign promises, or why he needs more time, Spicer unleashed a torrent of inaccurate claims about how the media misrepresented the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]