NPS releases official photos of Trump's inauguration crowd

The National Park Service releases dozens of photos from Trump's and Obama's inaugurations. The crowds don't look the same.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Expertise Solar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects, and CNET's "Living off the Grid" series Credentials
  • Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Eric Mack
2 min read
A comparison of the two most recent inaugurations crowds.
Enlarge Image
A comparison of the two most recent inaugurations crowds.

A comparison of the two most recent inaugurations crowds.

National Parks Service/Eric Mack/CNET

The US National Parks Service on Monday released official photos from the inauguration ceremonies of President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama . They seem to confirm that fewer people turned out for Trump's inauguration.

The NPS, which manages the National Mall in Washington, took the photos of Trump's inauguration in January from a helicopter and various ground vantage points. The images were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Buzzfeed and other outlets.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Before the inaugural festivities had even finished, the size of the crowd on the mall became a trending topic on social media. People were sharing comparison photos like the one above to prove whose was bigger -- whose inauguration crowd that is -- Trump's or Obama's. A record-breaking 1.8 million people were estimated to have turned out for Obama's first inauguration in 2009, and an estimated 1 million showed up for the second one, four years later.

President Trump has accused the media of under-reporting the size of the crowd at his inauguration and said during an appearance at the CIA that "the 20-block area all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed." White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also asserted that it was "largest audience to ever witness the inauguration period, both in person and around the globe."

The NPS images appear to show otherwise.

By the way, the Park Service is part of the executive branch that Trump now runs. So in a way, the president's own administration has just debunked him. We'll find out if he sees it that way.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET's newsstand edition.

Life, disrupted: In Europe, millions of refugees are still searching for a safe place to settle. Tech should be part of the solution. But is it?