The Slatest

Trump Administration Ending Like It Began: Lying About Crowd Size

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally in Washington, D.C. on November 14, 2020.
Supporters of President Donald Trump rally in Washington, D.C. on November 14, 2020. OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images

Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to express their support to the commander in chief and his baseless allegations of voter fraud. The protest had several different names, including Million Maga March, Stop the Steal, and March for Trump but they all had the same message: the election has been stolen from Trump. The gathering received praise from members of the administration, including Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, who tweeted photos of the demonstrations and claimed that “more than one MILLION” people had gathered to support the president. That was a wild exaggeration as all footage from the events show, at most, tens of thousands of people present.

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Many immediately pointed out McEnany’s exaggeration and noted that it brought to mind the way Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, outright lied to the press about the number of people who attended the president’s inauguration in January, 2017. Back then it was shocking because the truth seemed so evident. But in a sign of things to come, a press secretary stood at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House and outright lied to the press about crowd numbers. Spicer twisted himself in contradictions to somehow claim that photos that compared crowd sizes at Trump’s inauguration to those of Barack Obama were somehow misleading. Trump’s inauguration “was the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration—period. Both in person and around the globe,” Spicer assured at the time. At the time, it seemed horrifying the press secretary could tell such an obvious outright lie with a straight face. After almost four years of Trump’s White House, McEnany’s tweet barely surprised. Trump himself was a bit less grandiose about his exaggerated estimates, claiming “hundreds of thousands of people” participated in the march.

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Trump had hinted that he might stop by the demonstrations but he went golfing early Saturday morning. He did smile and wave to supporters from inside his car as his motorcade drove down Pennsylvania Avenue. That got his supporters really excited, many of whom ran to try to get a glimpse of the president. Trump continued to feverishly tweet about baseless claims of election fraud throughout the afternoon.

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