January 18, 2019

Trump claims media ‘dishonest’ over crowd photos

62President Donald Trump has accused the media of dishonesty over the number of people attending his inauguration.
Mr Trump was speaking after photographs were published appearing to show more people attended the inauguration of his predecessor Barack Obama in 2009.
Mr Trump’s press secretary said it had been “the largest audience to ever see an inauguration” even though figures he cited add up to under 750,000 people.
He said the new US administration would hold the media accountable.
On Saturday, millions in the US and around the world took part in protests to highlight women’s rights, which activists believe to be under threat from the new administration.
The largest US rally was in the capital, Washington DC, which city officials estimated to be more than 500,000-strong, followed by New York with some 400,000 and hundreds of thousands elsewhere, including Chicago and Los Angeles.
For decades, the US National Park Service provided official crowd estimates for gatherings on the National Mall.
But the agency stopped providing counts after organisers of the Million Man March protest about rights for black people in 1995 threatened a lawsuit.
Mr Trump said “it looked like a million and a half people” there on Friday – with the crowd extending all the way back to the Washington Monument.
He provided no evidence.
To support the argument, his press secretary Sean Spicer outlined figures amounting to 720,000 people in the Mall.
He also said that the number of people taking Washington’s subway system on the day had been higher than during Mr Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.
In fact, there were 782,000 tickets that year, but 571,000 this year, the Washington-area transit authority says.
Mr Spicer also said that plastic sheets had been used for the first time to cover the grass which “had the effect of highlighting areas people were not standing whereas in years past the grass eliminated this visual”. In fact, the grass was also covered in 2013.
He added that fences and metal detectors had had an impact on attendance, but this had also been denied by officials as being a factor.
District of Columbia officials had made preparations for an estimated 700,000 to 900,000 people.

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