Photos of Trump inauguration were doctored to make the crowd look bigger after his intervention: Report
President Trump allegedly called National Park Service director Michael Reynolds a day after the event asking for photographs that 'more accurately represented the crowd size'
It had long been known that former press secretary Sean Spicer's claim that President Donald Trump drew "the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration period, both in person and around the globe," was false and based on doctored photos. New evidence proves comprehensively that the crowd gathered at the National Mall on January 20, 2017 was indeed not what the Trump administration made it out to be.
According to documents obtained by the Guardian, a government photographer edited official pictures of the event to make the crowd appear bigger by "cropping out the bottom where the crowd ended" following a personal intervention from the president himself.
After the billionaire mogul was reportedly angered by photos showing that Obama's inauguration crowd in 2009 was much larger, he is said to have ordered a new set of pictures that were more flattering.
The National Park Service (NPS), which is in control of the National Mall, did not put out any official figures for the day but that did not stop netizens from comparing aerial shots of the days Trump and Obama were sworn in. Crowds appeared to have packed the National Mall before the latter's ceremony, while for the former, the those gathered seemed more sparsely distributed.
To add salt to the wounds, CNN tweeted comparisons of a photograph of the National Mall taken from the National Park Service’s EarthCam on the Washington Monument when the swearing-in began and one taken at the same time the next day during the Women's March. The Women's March had attracted a significantly larger crowd as well.
The documents show that the day after the event, Trump called NPS director Michael Reynolds for an early-morning conversation and that Spicer repeatedly called other NPS officials in his pursuit for photographs that "more accurately represented the inauguration crowd size."
A government photographer edited official pictures of Donald Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger following a personal intervention from the president, according to newly released documents.— Arnold R. Harper (@harper4Obama) 6 September 2018
The photographer cropped out empty space “where the crowd ended” pic.twitter.com/TShE4JQjcb
These details were not included in the inspector general’s office’s final report on its inquiry into the saga, which was published in June last year and gave a different account of the NPS photographer who had covered the event the day before for more photographs.
Spicer was heavily involved in the entire process and reportedly called Reynolds immediately after the latter spoke to Trump, and again at 3 p.m, shortly before the new set of photographs of the event were sent to the White House.
In an unnamed NPS official's view, Spicer's requests amounted to "a request for NPS to provide photographs in which it appeared the inauguration crowd filled the majority of the space in the photograph" and that she eventually contacted the NPS photographer.
That photographer also confessed to investigators that he had been contacted by an unnamed official who asked for "any photographs that showed the inauguration crowd sizes" and that he had to go back to his office to "edit a few more" snaps beyond the 25 he had already submitted the previous day.
The investigators' report is damning and the biggest indication yet that the photos in circulation from the White House were altered. It stated that the photographer "edited the inauguration photographs to make them look more symmetrical by cropping out the sky and cropping out the bottom where the crowd ended," adding "he did so to show that there had been more of a crowd."