Trump administration accuses media of playing down inauguration crowd size

Mr Trump has disputed media estimates that about 250,000 people gathered for his inauguration Credit: AP
  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

Donald Trump's administration has accused the media of inaccurate reporting over the size of the crowd at the president's inauguration, saying the event had seen the largest audience in history "both in person and around the globe".

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told a media briefing that there had been "deliberately false reporting" about the size of the crowd at Mr Trump's inauguration.

In particular, he said that photographs of the inauguration had been intentionally framed in a way to minimize the crowd.

"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period," he said, but offered no evidence to support the claim.

Photos of the National Mall during Mr Trump's inauguration showed the crowd did not extend to the Washington Monument, as it did for the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama when an estimated 1.8 million people gathered for a glimpse of the president.

But the claim made my multiple news outlets that fewer people attended his inauguration than Mr Obama's have riled the new president.

In comments made at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Mr Trump said the media's estimate that about 250,000 people attended his inauguration was "not bad" but was "a lie".

"We had a massive field of people, you saw them - packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks and they show an empty field," the president 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, they showed a field where there were practically nobody standing.

The number of people in the crowd is now hotly contested. Mr Spicer told reporters the area between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument, which is just over halfway down the National Mall, held approximately 720,000 people.

"All of this space was full when the president took the oath of office," Mr Spicer said.

It is not known how many people watched the inauguration around the world on television.