You’ve no doubt seen the photos by now. There’s a picture directly comparing the scene at Donald Trump’s inauguration to that of President Obama. The insinuation of the comparison is clear. President Obama enjoyed record turnout for his inauguration, and Trump’s may be the worst ever in modern times. We are getting a lot of questions about whether this is true and what it means.
Well, as to the big question, it is true, although it doesn’t really mean anything. Trump’s inauguration is being estimated at 700,000 to 900,000 in attendance, far short of President Obama’s record numbers in 2009. However, those figures are deceiving as no President came even close to Obama’s number. See, President Obama’s inauguration was a much more historic event than any inauguration before because he was the first African-American President to be sworn into office. This caused his inauguration to have huge numbers that trump (no pun intended) all others before him. If you want to be realistic, Trump’s numbers are actually quite good. Check out these estimations from Snopes, a site that is not known for veering from the narrative of the mainstream media:
President Bill Clinton, 1993: 800,000 people
President Bill Clinton, 1997: 250,000 people
President George W. Bush, 2001: 300,000 people
President George W. Bush, 2005: 400,000 people
President Barack Obama, 2009: 1.8 million people
President Barack Obama, 2013: 1 million people
That’s right. Trump’s inauguration, if the higher estimate holds, may end up being the third best of all time, behind the two Obama events. And it is important to note that while both of Obama’s inaugurations were very high in attendance, the one in 2013 was not nearly as much. That’s because the event wasn’t as historic the second time it happened. In any case, it’s absolutely true that Trump’s numbers were far less than Obama’s, but that’s not as much of a slight as it sounds because his numbers are still higher than the average and may end up being the second best in the final tally.
So what about the photographs, you say? If Trump still had those kinds of numbers, what is with the empty looking National Mall picture that is now going viral on the mainstream media? Well, it’s not real, of course. The picture is of the National Mall, just not on the day of an event on the level of an inauguration. The picture is of a lesser event where there are enough people present to make the photograph believable, but not enough to look like Trump had a good day.