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President Trump's inauguration was ranked the fifth highest in total television viewers

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President Trump's inauguration was ranked the fifth highest in total television viewers

WATCH | White House spokesperson Sean Spicer blasts the media for "shameful" coverage

It might have been just four days since President Trump was sworn into office, but that doesn't mean it's been all smooth sailing. The Trump administration and the news media continue to engage in a bitter debate over how many people attended, or watched, the 45th president's inaugural ceremony last Friday.

According to the television data-measurement company Nielsen, Trump's inauguration ranked fifth in highest viewership, despite claims by White House spokesperson Sean Spicer that it was the most watched inauguration in history.

The 58th inaugural ceremony of Donald Trump drew 30.6 million viewers, falling short of the 37.7 million viewers that tuned into President Obama's first inauguration in 2009, Nielsen found.

In comparison to past ceremonies, President Ronald Reagan brought in the most viewership with 41.8 million people tuning in, followed by President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration (37.7 million), President Jimmy Carter in 1977 (34.1 million), and President Richard Nixon in 1973 (33 million).

Total viewership of Trump's inauguration, according to data compiled by Nielsen, surpassed the number of those who watched President Bill Clinton being sworn into office in 1993 (29.7 million) and President George H.W. Bush in 2001 (29 million). 

The argument over crowd size began on Friday with the circulation of aerial photos comparing President Obama's 2009 inauguration to President Trump's. Spicer blasted the media in his first press briefing for their "shameful" coverage.

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