The presidential inauguration is one of the largest gatherings to hit Washington, DC every four years.
And while every inaugural ceremony is different than the other, the current US President’s fete is drawing scrutiny from reporters that claim that, on President Trump’s direction, photographs of the crowds gathered to hear his speech on the Washington Mall were modified to make the crowds appear larger in a moment of Photoshop meets Stalin-era media standards.
But did President Trump directly order a photographer to edit photos? That doesn’t seem to be the case as many reports are hinting.
If you will recall this issue was actually the source of some political fodder immediately following Trump’s inauguration as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was routinely lampooned in both the news and popular media for his claims that people turned out in “record numbers” for a ceremony that many report was under attended when compared with previous inaugural addresses.
Using a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the information upon which The Guardian’s report is based, the UK-based paper says that documents sent to them by the US Department of the Interior reveal Trump’s frustrations with the inaugural crowd size issue, specifically media comparisons with former President Barack Obama’s speech attendance.
An unnamed official in The Guardian’s report that allegedly works with the National Park Services says that “she got the impression that President Trump wanted to see pictures that appeared to depict more spectators in the crowd.”
But then the similarly anonymous photographer responsible for cropping the photos claims that he was never told specifically to do so and he only did some simple cropping to focus in on the crowded portions of the address. He further asserted that cropping photos is a routine part of the job.
Of course, all of this would probably be less of an issue had Trump’s former Press Secretary Sean Spicer not told a press conference “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period.”