- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 21, 2017

President Trump disputed a TV network’s report Saturday that he said underestimated the size of the crowd at his inauguration.

During a meeting with CIA employees at the spy agency’s headquarters, Mr. Trump said he turned on the television at the White House Saturday morning and was dismayed by the unnamed network’s report on the crowd on the National Mall on Friday.

“They showed an empty field,” Mr. Trump said. “It said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad, but it’s a lie. I said wait a minute, I made a speech, the field looked like a million, a million and a half people. They showed a field where there was practically nobody standing. They said ‘Donald Trump did not draw well.’”

The president said from his vantage point on the inauguration platform at the Capitol, the crowd “went all the way back to the Washington Monument.”

“It looked like, honestly, like a million and half people,” he said. “Whatever it was, it was. It went all the way back to the Washington Monument. We had a massive field of people, packed.”

He said of the TV report, “We caught them, and we caught them in a beauty.”

The National Park Service does not provide estimates of crowd sizes. Photos comparing crowds at Friday’s inauguration and that of President Obama in 2009 show larger crowds at the Obama event.

The president also took issue with a report Friday night, by a pool reporter covering an event in the Oval Office, that said erroneously that Mr. Trump had removed a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the office. Mr. Trump did bring back a bust of Winston Churchill that had been moved by Mr. Obama, but he kept the bust of the civil rights hero in the Oval Office.

The reporter for Time Magazine later issued a correction, saying he hadn’t noticed the bust of Dr. King during the session in the Oval Office.

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