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Trump Inauguration Attendance is Noticeably Less Than Expected

With the start of the swearing in ceremonies at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration proper being about 20 minutes away, the pool feed used by all of the major television news organizations switched to an overhead shot of the National Mall. In that moment, something was a bit conspicuous, which quickly got pointed out by both television anchors and members of the news media on Twitter: There were clearly a lot less people there than had been anticipated.

2009:
Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 11.52.19 AM

2017:

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 11.52.31 AM

And more comparisons:
Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 4.43.40 PM

On MSNBC, the anchors immediately took notice. “We do see a lot of white space there,” said Brian Williams. “That white space there gives you a good way of measuring how many people are gonna [unintelligible].” Rachel Maddow then chimed in, noting that no tickets were required to watch the inauguration from the National Mall.

“If people want to see this, this is the time for them to be getting there,” she added. “Some inaugurations are big, some inaugurations are small. One of the things that is unpredictable about our news president is that he does seem to be ratings-focused, and he likes to talk about the size of his support, the number of supporters, the number of people at his rallies. It’ll be interesting to see if this bothers him, how he reacts to this, if he does, in the end, have an unusually small inauguration.”

There are still hundreds of thousands of people there, but from the looks of the National Mall, those planning how to manage the crowd were seemingly expecting more.

Update 11:52 a.m. ET: Thanks to commenter “leftynyc” for pointing out that the National Mall has a live webcam that will let you follow the crowd back there, which is filling in a little bit more.

Update 12:05 p.m. ET: Right as Trump was about to be sworn in (note the time and date stamp in the lower left corner), the webcam was turned around. As noted above, it had been showing the white space in the crowd:

National Mall webcam turned away from Donald Trump inauguration

Update 12:15 p.m. ET: Now they turned it back around after the crowd filled in more:

National Mall webcam turned back towards Trump inauguration

UPDATE 12:55 PM ET: Over on Twitter, there was some reaction to the attendance of the inauguration:

[Photo: ABC News screen grab]

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