US President Donald Trump just blasted the media for massively understating the size of his inaugural crowds.
“I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field,” Trump said at a speech Saturday afternoon at the CIA. “I'm like, wait a minute. I made a speech. I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people.”
The unnamed television network, he noted, estimated a turnout of 250,000 people — a figure he argued was way too low.
“Now, that's not bad. But it's a lie,” he said. “We had 250,000 people literally around in the little ball we constructed.” In other words, 250,000 people had been given tickets to the swearing-in ceremony, which is what the Joint Congressional Committee for Inaugural Ceremonies told CNN.
“The rest of the 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington monument was packed,” Trump claimed.
The National Park Service no longer provides official inauguration crowd estimates, and the mayor's office and other agencies have not released an official estimate, as they did two days after President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. So we don’t yet know how many people were there yesterday.
The Washington-area transit authority, WMATA, reported that only 193,000 people rode Metro on Friday as of 11 am, significantly fewer than the past two inaugurations and slightly fewer than President George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2005.
It seems clear that Trump drew significantly fewer people than Obama did eight years ago, and it's a bit sad that the US president is more concerned about inauguration numbers on his first day in office.