The Trump administration’s fist official press briefing will not be held until Monday, but that didn’t stop White House Press Secretary and Communications Director Sean Spicer from making an impromptu press conference where he scolded members of the media and launched Twitter hashtags.
President Trump, as well as the mainstream media, seem to be consumed by the number of people at Friday’s inauguration. Many media outlets featured stories comparing Trump’s inauguration crowds to Obama’s inauguration crowds.
Then during his speech to the CIA on Saturday afternoon, President Trump said this of the inauguration crowds:
“We had something like a million and a half people. It went all the way back to the Washington Monument. Then I turn on the media and they say we had 250,000 people. That’s not bad. But it’s a lie… We caught them. We caught them in a lie, and it was a beauty.”
There are no official numbers for the crowds at President Trump’s inauguration, but early estimates indicate that there were definitely not a million or a million and half people at the inauguration on Friday.
Since 1981 (The first year the inauguration was held on the west side of the Capitol), Barack Obama holds the record for the biggest crowds at an inauguration with 1.8 million people attending in 2009. The Park Service has said that it “firmly” believes that Obama had the largest crowd ever to the National Mall. Obama is also the second runner up with 1 million attending his 2013 inauguration. Bill Clinton garnered an audience of 800,000 in 1993 and George W. Bush had 300,000 back in 2001.
Trump, who is extremely sensitive about anyone mocking the size of anything of his, had Sean Spicer chastise the media for their coverage of the inauguration, especially the crowd size. Spicer tore into the media for their perceived attempt to “lessen enthusiasm” of Trump’s inauguration by showing bad images of the crowd, which he deemed “shameful and wrong.”
Spicer said that this was the “first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the mall preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.”
We do know a few things so let’s go through the facts. We know that from the platform 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 media tent to the Washington Monument another 250,000 people. All of this space was full when the president took the oath of office. We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. metro public transit yesterday which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama’s last inaugural.
This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period. Both in person and around the globe. Even The New York Times printed a photograph showing that a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original tweet in their paper which showed the full extent of the support, depth and crowd and intensity that existed. These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.
Spicer finished the presser by telling the media being held accountable is a “two-way street.”
Trump’s inauguration was seen by 30.6 million viewers across 12 networks, which is behind Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 with 37.8 million viewers. The most watched inauguration is held by Ronald Reagan in 1981, which was seen by 41.8 million viewers.
However, people are watching video online more than ever in history so we must take that into consideration. CNN.com is said to have 16.9 million live streams for the inauguration, tying with its Election Day coverage for the site’s top event. Not to mention every other news site that live-streamed the event as well as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Sling TV, Android TV, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While not verified, it is conceivable that Trump did have “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration” if you combine all of the outlets around the world simply because of accessibility that wasn’t available even only four years ago.
The Washington Post reports that the D.C. Metro stated 570,557 people took trips in the system between its early 4 a.m. Friday opening through midnight closing. “Those figures are significantly lower than those from the 2009 and 2013 Inaugurations of President Barack Obama; 1.1 million trips in 2009 and 782,000 in 2013, according to Metro.”
During the unorthodox presser, Spicer also called out a repoter from TIME magazine for falsely reporting that the bust of MLK Jr. was removed from the Oval Office.
Spicer’s press briefing lasted only five minutes and there was no Q&A session afterward.
Twitter jumped on Spicer and his fiery press conference with the hashtags #SpicerFacts and