One of the most politically charged topics of any Inauguration Day is invariably: crowd size.
Officials had suggested in advance of Donald Trump's inauguration that around 900,000 people would descend upon Washington, D.C., for the inauguration and the parade, fewer by about half than attended the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, in 2009.
But Trump himself said he was hoping for a "record-setting turnout."
Overhead photos shortly before Trump's swearing-in showed a lot of people but also a lot of empty spaces on the National Mall.
The Washington transit agency tweeted a little before noon that there were 193,000 trips taken by 11 a.m., down from 513,000 by the same time on Jan 20, 2009, and less even than George W. Bush's second inauguration in January 2005.
Metro Ridership: As of 11am, 193k trips taken so far today. (11am 1/20/13 = 317k, 11am 1/20/09 = 513k, 11am 1/20/05 = 197k) #wmata— Metro (@wmata) January 20, 2017
The crowd also did not appear to be great for commerce. Vendors Karone Williams and Dominique Christian set up a table full of Donald Trump merchandise only blocks from the White House. But two hours into their gig, they had sold only six items: a couple of hats, some T-shirts and a $5 rain poncho.
“It’s been real slow,’’ said Williams, a D.C. native. “We’re just trying to make a few pennies."
Williams couldn’t explain the slow business. She said she sold plenty of stuff for Barack Obama’s inauguration and even more for the 1995 Million Man March and its 25-year reunion.
“The spirit of him isn’t there," she said of Trump.
Contributing: Deborah Barfield Berry
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