Lying about crowd sizes, Team Trump ends how it began

It's hard not to appreciate the symmetry. It's as if Team Trump were trying to create matching bookends for its term.
Image: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks with reporters on May 14, 2020.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks with reporters on May 14, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

In the aftermath of Election Day 2016, we saw some memorable things: a presidential victor who earned 306 electoral votes, Donald Trump lying about electoral fraud, Trump accused of engaging in unscrupulous financial schemes, and Team Trump lying about crowd sizes.

In the aftermath of Election Day 2020, we are once again seeing a presidential victor who earned 306 electoral votes, Donald Trump lying about electoral fraud, Trump accused of engaging in unscrupulous financial schemes, and Team Trump lying about crowd sizes.

On a day when the president's supporters touted a vast array of falsehoods, his spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnany, offered perhaps the most ludicrous. "More than one MILLION marchers for President [Donald Trump] descend on the swamp in support," she tweeted, vastly exaggerating the crowd size.

At issue were demonstrations in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, with die-hard Trump followers marching to show their support for the outgoing president. By most accounts, there were "tens of thousands" of Trump fans on hand for the gatherings, though for the president and his team, that reality wasn't quite good enough.

And so, nearly four years after Trump and then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer offered bizarre claims about the underwhelming crowd who attended the Republican's inauguration, the president claimed over the weekend that "hundreds of thousands" of supporters showed up, which Kayleigh McEnany inflated, just for the heck of it, to "more than one million."

It's hard not to appreciate the symmetry. It's as if Team Trump were trying to create matching bookends for its term.

As for the demonstrations themselves -- the point of which weren't altogether clear -- the outgoing president seemed proud of the showing, overlooking the fact that the crowds included "white nationalists, conspiracy theorists and far-right activists."

The Washington Post's report on the demonstrations added, "Among the rallygoers were members of the Proud Boys, an extremist group known for their black-and-yellow garb and endorsements of violence. Some wore flak jackets and helmets. 'Stand Back, Stand By,' read several of their shirts, referencing the president's directive to them during a September debate."