Donald Trump predicted that the numbers at his inauguration Friday would be “astronomical.” However, a mere glance at pictures of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., showed that the crowd was significantly smaller than when his predecessor Barack Obama was first sworn into office in 2009.
As Obama arrived on a promise of “Yes We Can,” the Mall was covered with an estimated 1.8 million people coming to witness the country's first black president. But Friday, photos showed plenty of empty ground and white tarpaulin still visible to see the 70-year-old Republican take the oath of office.
Indeed, the crowd was likely smaller than Obama’s inauguration for his second term in 2013. Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney to win re-election was marked by a crowd estimated at 1 million.
No official tallies are available for the event. While 250,000 free tickets are distributed by Congress for the area nearest the inauguration platform in front of the Capitol, the majority of attendees are generally outside the ticketed zone.
There are, however, some official clues as to the size of the crowds. The official account of the Washington Metro, Friday, tweeted the Metro ridership numbers for Inauguration day mornings. The 193,000 riders as of 11 a.m. Friday paled in comparison to the 513,000 at the same time of Obama’s first inauguration or the 317,000 on the day of his second. Indeed, the number for Trump was even smaller than the 197,000 users on the morning of President George W. Bush’s inauguration for his second term in 2005.
Another indicator that the crowd did not match Trump’s prediction of a “record-setting turnout,” comes from the reported struggles of second-hand ticket sellers to turn a profit.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Activities, which organizes all activities, said it was expecting between 700,000 to 750,000 people to attend Trump’s inauguration as the country’s 45th president.
The numbers around the National Mall may have been far higher, however, when taking into account the thousands of protestors in the surrounding areas.