The former first lady visited “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Thursday to promote her new memoir, Becoming. When DeGeneres asked her how many inauguration ceremonies she’d attended in her lifetime, Obama slyly replied, “Two of ours, and one of someone else’s.”
DeGeneres then asked her whether the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was smaller than at her husband’s. Obama simply nodded and said, “I could tell. I could tell.”
In the first full day of his presidency in 2017, Trump lied about the size of the crowd at his inauguration during a speech at CIA headquarters.
Later, he instructed then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer to criticize media reports that his swearing-in ceremony had drawn fewer spectators than the estimated 1.8 million who had attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
New York Times journalist Binyamin Appelbaum tweeted two side-by-side photos that showed a visibly larger crowd at Obama’s inauguration. That tweet went viral and was even briefly shared by the National Park Service, but later deleted.
Elsewhere in the interview, Obama opened up about celebrating the Supreme Court’s historic 2015 ruling on marriage equality from inside the White House, which had been illuminated in the colors of the rainbow flag for the occasion.
“We knew that there was celebration happening, but we didn’t realize that thousands of people were gathering outside the White House at that time to celebrate,” she recalled. “I was sitting and watching it on TV, and realizing, ‘I’m living this.’ I said I have to break out of this, I wanna go outside and be a part of that celebration.”
Turns out, partaking in those festivities was easier said than done, but the former first lady and her daughter Malia were eventually able to join in.