WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s press secretary is declaring that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience in history “both in person and around the globe.”
Sean Spicer insists that, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”
Spicer offers no evidence to support the claim. It is not known how many people watched the ceremony on television around the globe. In the U.S., Nielsen estimates 31 million viewers watched TV coverage, but that’s less than Barack Obama’s and Ronald Reagan’s first inaugurations.
On the ground in Washington, crowds on Friday were noticeably smaller than those of some pervious inaugurations.
Spicer convened reporters at the White House during Trump’s first full day in office to accuse them of engaging in “deliberately false reporting.” He’s claiming that photographs of the inauguration were intentionally framed in a way to minimize the crowd.
Photos of the National Mall make clear that the crowd did not extend to the Washington Monument, as it did for the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama.
Spicer also addressed another issue with the media that occurred:
When a small group of journalists, known as a “pool,” was allowed into the Oval Office on Friday evening, there was some confusion about whether a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. was still there. The bust had been controversial when former President Obama moved it into the Oval Office, replacing a bust of Winston Churchill that had been there.
Pool reporter Zeke Miller of Time initially couldn’t see the MLK bust, and he sent word to the rest of the press corps that it had been removed.
But it was still there, albeit out of Miller’s line of sight. A correction went out to the press corps within half an hour.
Spicer tweaked Miller about the incident on Twitter, calling it “a reminder of the media danger of tweet first check facts later.”
Miller apologized to his colleagues, and Spicer tweeted, “Apology accepted.”