These Aerial Photos Show How Trump’s Inauguration Crowd Compares With Obama’s

The new president claimed his crowd would break records. It fell way, way short of that mark.

Left, the crowd for Obama in 2009; right, the crowd for Trump on Friday.Luis Alvarez/AP; screenshot from EarthCam

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Donald Trump said his inauguration would have “record-setting turnout,” but a quick glance at bird’s-eye photos of his event and Barack Obama’s in 2009 shows how far that claim is from the truth. In recent days, various groups estimated that the crowd for Trump was likely to be between 700,000 and 900,000 people. In 2009, an estimated 1.8 million people flocked to the National Mall to watch the swearing-in of the nation’s first black president.

An astonishing 10,000 charter buses applied for permits for Obama’s event; for Trumps swearing-in, only 200 buses applied. In 2009, 98 percent of the city’s hotel rooms were sold out. As of this Thursday afternoon, there appeared to be plenty of hotel rooms available. And while Obama’s inauguration was a star-studded event, many celebrities declined to perform at Trump’s ceremony, leaving him with bands that have almost completely faded from memory.

Update: CNN has a video comparison of the Obama crowd in 2013 and the Trump crowd on Friday:

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest