The White House Press Secretary has been blasted online after claiming “more than one million” people turned up to Washington DC to march in support of Donald Trump.
The march was organised by supporters of the President’s baseless claims that the results of the 2020 election were rigged in Joe Biden’s favour.
Flag-carrying Trump supporters chanted "Stop the steal!" and "We are the champions!" as they streamed from Freedom Plaza near the White House to the US Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany described the scenes as “AMAZING!” in a tweet on Saturday (local time) and praised supporters for the turn out.
“More than one MILLION marchers for President Trump descend on the swamp in support,” she boasted.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) November 14, 2020
But social media was quick to respond with their own images of the area showing far less supporters than suggested.
“We don’t have exact figures, but the crowd is not remotely close to a million people,” CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale replied.
“A lot of people have noted that Kayleigh is lying,” noted author and journalist Jennifer Wright.
“But after this past week, it's also possible these guys are just VERY bad at counting.”
Thousands of Trump supporters are here in DC for the “Million MAGA March.” So far I’ve seen plenty of Proud Boys, QAnon supporters, and admiring references to Kyle Rittenhouse. pic.twitter.com/Z8UJDIy1IZ
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) November 14, 2020
Congressman Ted Lieu put the number as low as 5,000.
“The actual number of people is around 5,000 and that includes counter protestors,” he responded to McEnany.
“How do we know [she] is lying about the crowd size at the March For Trump? Because [the president] decided to play golf rather than speak to the small base that showed up,” he said.
The president did drive by the crowd and wave to supporters from the car on his way to the course.
Trump supporters rush toward Trump’s motorcade during the march pic.twitter.com/zD3NQxDgeH
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 14, 2020
Others were quick to point out the bizarre similarities to when then White House press secretary Sean Spicer insisted on lying about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd in 2017.
“This administration is going out the same way it came in: by blatantly lying about crowd size,” tweeted political journalist Brian Tyler Cohen.
A former staffer to the Obama administration also laughed at the claims. “Big Sean Spicer energy here,” said Sawyer Hackett.
“Looks like Kayleigh McEnany studied at the Sean Spicer School of Alternative Math,” another Twitter user joked.
McEnany followed up with a still image showing packed streets which many suggested was photoshopped by White House Director of Communications and Social Media, Dan Scavino.
“The TRUMP movement!, Amazing turn out for President Trump,” she tweeted.
Many online replied with what appears to be the original image before it had been edited.
Nice photoshop job Dan. Here is the original. pic.twitter.com/TWyj9fqCf7
— ηєωт, GIFmaster General (@newtnewtriot) November 14, 2020
Trump blows up at ‘fake’ Fox News over event coverage
Donald Trump was quick to point the finger at the media claiming “fake news” and suggested journalists were strategically choosing empty streets to report from.
Trump even took aim at Fox News over its coverage of the event. The network is widely considered to have fuelled his rise, and continues to have sycophantic pundits that echo his unfounded conspiracies on a nightly basis, but the president has lost his affection for the network of late.
He took umbrage with their coverage because it showed crowd sizes that weren’t quite hitting the million mark.
“Fox News and the Fake News Networks aren’t showing these massive gatherings. Instead they have their reporters standing in almost empty streets. We now have SUPPRESSION BY THE PRESS. MAGA!” Trump fumed of Twitter.
Scores of members of the far-right Proud Boys group, clad in black with some wearing helmets and ballistic vests, were among the marchers.
Many also appeared to be QAnon members, a bizarre online conspiracy collective which has been dubbed a mass delusion.
Trump's motorcade briefly drove slowly through the crowds on the way to his golf course in Sterling, Virginia.
As night fell, scuffled began breaking out between Trump supporters and counter protesters.
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