Speed Reads

Size matters

Trump reportedly ordered National Parks director to produce different inauguration crowd photos

During his first morning in the White House, President Trump personally ordered that acting National Park Service director Michael T. Reynolds find additional photos showing the crowd on the National Mall during his inauguration on Friday, The Washington Post reports.

Three people with knowledge of the phone call between the two told The Post that Trump thought there had to be photos from different angles showing a larger crowd than the photos being shown on the news. He also let Reynolds, who would not comment to The Post, know he was angry his agency retweeted a photo that showed former President Barack Obama's overflow inauguration crowd in 2009 compared to Trump's turnout. While Reynolds was "taken aback" by the request, The Post reports, he did send over additional aerial shots to the White House. Unsurprisingly, those photos showed the same exact crowd.

The Park Service does not release crowd estimates, and while Trump has said there were more than one million people, experts have said the turnout in 2017 was no more than a third the size of Obama's in 2009. Trump's fixation on the size of the crowd has been well documented — he has tweeted about it, discussed it during major interviews, and brought it up during his visit to CIA headquarters, boasting about it while standing in front of the agency's memorial wall to the 117 employees killed in the line of duty. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, has also mentioned it multiple times, saying in one breath that there are no official crowd numbers and in the next, declaring it was "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period."