Trump tried to force National Park Service to verify his false numbers about crowd size: report
New President Donald Trump is so preoccupied with the size of his inauguration crowd that he reportedly asked the National Park Service to back him up on his estimations.
According to a report from The Washington Post, three people with knowledge of the conversation alleged that Trump called National Park Service director Michael Reynolds on Saturday and asked for new aerial photographs of the crowd during the inauguration.
The Post reports that Trump believed other photos were inaccurate and there might be others that could prove his personal estimations. Saturday was also the day that Trump made a speech at CIA headquarters that discussed the size of his inauguration.
“I get up this morning and I turn on one of the networks and they show an empty field,” Trump said. “I said wait a minute, I made a speech, I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, a million and a half people … it went all the way back to the Washington Monument.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer also fought back against any calculations that didn’t match with the Trump estimations. He alleged that crowd photos didn’t show an accurate representation because the Secret Service was using “magnetometers” it took people longer to get into the grounds. The Secret Service released a statement saying they did not use magnetometers.
At the same time, crowds of people were spilling out of the designated protest areas for the Women’s March on Washington, which had significantly higher attendance than organizers had anticipated. By the time the march was scheduled to begin, the crowd was so large that the entire march path was filled with women.
Trump was provided with new photos, but like the ones before, they did not verify his own estimations.
The Post also noted that Trump was unhappy with tweets sent out from the Park Service that compared the 2017 crowd to former President Barack Obama’s 2009 crowd.
CNN brought in crowd-scientists to create an accurate count of the size of the crowds and determined that Trump’s was much smaller than President Obama’s.
Spicer eventually shifted the White House statement and claimed that Trump meant it was larger because he was adding those viewing on television as well. When ratings numbers didn’t back those numbers up, the White House claimed they weren’t accurately counting online viewers.
There were also reports this week that Trump was “visibly enraged” by the size of the Women’s March on Washington crowd.