A president’s fame is perceived to be largely determined the number of audiences at his/her inaugural. As always, people were watching out for the number of attendees. According to Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, there were around 720, 000 attendees. However, Trump himself estimated the number to be around 1.5 million people.
Washington Mall 11:21 am. #TrumpInauguration #ThankYouObamas pic.twitter.com/mucxUpxvTT
— Farhaj ? (@Farhaj) January 20, 2017
Looking at the history, only Bill Clinton reached a huge number of 800,000 people. Besides, Bush has 300,000 in 2001 and just over 400,000 in 2005. However, the number of attendees skyrocketed in Obama’s inaugural. He received the warm attendance of 1.8 million people in 2009 and 1 million in 2013. Although the number of attendees saw a steep decline in 2013, none of the presidents have ever been near those record numbers. Similarly, ignoring the claims by Trump team, the politifact.com estimates the crowd to be as big as 250,000 to 600,000. President Bush, Obama, Clinton, and Carter attended the Trump Inaugural as well.
Sean Spicer spoke on behalf of President Trump, “We know that from the platform from where the President was sworn in to 4th Street holds about 250,000 people. From 4th Street to the media tent is about another 220,000. And from the media tent to the Washington Monument another 250,000 people. All of this space was full when the President took the oath of office.”
Despite several claims, the turnout in inaugural was quickly noticed on the internet. The Trump inaugural’s bird’s eye view looked a lot emptier than Obama’s inaugural did in 2009. Hence, the photos were tweeted, retweeted and replied thousands of times.
Compare the crowds: 2009 inauguration at left, 2017 inauguration at right.#Inauguration pic.twitter.com/y7RhIR2nfC
— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) January 20, 2017
Sean Spicer didn’t even think about the fact checkers when he attributed the low turnout to infrastructural changes. He talked about the floor coverings being used the first time, leading to a highlighted empty space and the usage of fences and magnetometers. However, the facts aren’t the same way. Floor coverings were used in the past as well.
Believing his own reasoning, Sean said in a press conference, “Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular Tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.”
Currently, Spicer is being criticized for defending inaugural turnout.