The National Mall Looked Relatively Empty For Donald Trump's Inauguration

Barack Obama's first inauguration drew a record crowd of 1.8 million.

Aerial shots of the National Mall during President Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday showed relatively sparse crowds. 

Crowd estimates for the ceremony have yet to be released, but turnout was certainly lower than Trump said he anticipated. 

“We are going to have an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout for the inauguration, and there will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars,” he said earlier this month, according to The New York Times. 

Security had planned for a crowd of about 800,000 to 900,000 people. 

Photos taken just prior to the swearing-in ceremony showed large portions of tarp exposed, with almost no one standing near the Washington Monument.

Reuters captured a shot while the ceremony was underway: 

An aerial view of Donald Trump's inauguration. 
An aerial view of Donald Trump's inauguration. 

The attendance pales in comparison to former President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, which drew approximately 1.8 million people to the Mall. However, Obama’s inauguration was an anomaly, due to the historic nature of the country having elected its first black president and the support he received from younger voters. 

Here’s what the crowds looked like on Obama’s first inauguration:

The scene on the National Mall during Barack Obama's first inauguration.
The scene on the National Mall during Barack Obama's first inauguration.

Ridership of Washington’s Metro on Friday was also comparable to the day of George W. Bush’s second inauguration, but less than both Obama inaugurations. 

Most other modern inaugurations have had numbers similar to Trump’s. Bush’s first inauguration drew about 300,000 people, while attendance at his second inauguration was estimated around 400,000. Bill Clinton drew 800,000 at his first inauguration in 1993 and 250,000 at his second. 

Democratic presidents also have a built-in crowd advantage in Washington, D.C., and its surrounding suburbs ― the region is largely populated by Democratic voters.  

At least some people trying to attend Trump’s inauguration apparently were stuck in line as the ceremony got underway.

This story has been updated to include Trump’s comments from earlier this month about expected turnout for the inauguration. 



Obama /Trump Inauguration Crowds