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Decoding the crowds: How the Women's March compared with Trump's inauguration


UPDATE 10:55 a.m.: Saturday was the second-busiest day in D.C. Metro history.

Decoding the crowds: How the Women's March compared with Trump's inauguration

WATCH | There were so many more people at the Women's March on Washington, D.C. compared to Donald Trump's inauguration.  So what does it mean?

Compare these two pictures.

The Women's March organizers estimate crowd to reach 500,000 participants.

This one is an aerial shot around noon of Washington, D.C.'s Mall during the Women's March on Jan. 21.


This one is an aerial shot around noon of Washington, D.C.'s Mall during Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.

While it's difficult to nail down exact numbers, (officials figures aren't available) you can see those who came out for the Women’s March Saturday easily dwarfed those who gathered for Trump’s swearing-in on Friday.

Streets were so packed, organizers of the Women's March had to scrap the official march portion of the event.

By comparison, Trump’s inauguration had noticeable empty patches on the Mall.

Some chalk it up to the deep divisions that split the country. 

And while it would be almost impossible to tell if the crowds at the Women's March was a direct response to Trump being sworn in as president, many of the people we spoke to at the Women's March said that they were opposed to the new president's views on women's reproductive rights,  environmental justice, immigrant rights, climate change--and more.

Was Trump's turnout low?

Trump had promised a "record-setting turnout" but he would have had to beat President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 that set a record of an estimated 1.8 million people.

Trump went on the defense about attendance Saturday during a speech at CIA headquarters and said that by his estimation there were a million and a half people at the event. “We had a massive field of people you saw that, packed,” he said. “I get up this morning, and I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field.”

Things to consider

There are a few things to consider when comparing attendance at the two events.

Trump’s inauguration fell on a Friday. The Women's March was on Saturday, when more people are off work.

Rain was forecast for Trump’s inauguration, and it did shower throughout the day.

To be fair, Women’s March supporters came from all over --and the weather wasn't great either.

The numbers for past inaugurations

George W. Bush, 2005: 400,000

George W. Bush, 2001: 300,000

Bill Clinton, 1997: 250,000

Bill Clinton, 1993: 800,000

George H.W. Bush, 1989: 300,000

Ronald Reagan, 1985: 140,000 tickets sold, but record cold moved the swearing-in ceremony inside

Ronald Reagan, 1981: 10,000 


Yet, some government agencies suggested that there was low turnout for Trump on their social media platforms --and an image similar to this circulated on the internet. 

The media's perpetuation of low turnout  didn't sit well with the president's team.

The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration ordered the Interior Department, which oversees the National Park Service, to suspend its Twitter accounts after showing side-by-side comparisons of the crowds.

As of Saturday morning, the National Park Service Twitter account was up and running. The inauguration tweets were deleted and the department apologized for the incident.

National Park Service was restored after briefly shutting down.

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