Trump reportedly asked to have the 'Empty Areas' cropped out of the official photos of his meager crowd at inauguration, according to People magazine.— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) September 7, 2018
Let's all be sure to Tweet this uncropped image to @realDonaldTrump to remind him just how unpopular he really is! pic.twitter.com/IXCMHOwN4k
One of the initial low-points in President Donald Trump’s deteriorating relationship with the media came immediately after he was sworn into presidency: The war of the inauguration crowd sizes.
Soon after Trump became president, unflattering images of Trump’s inauguration crowd size in comparison with former President Barack Obama’s, made rounds on the internet. The photos showed the newly elected POTUS was unsuccessful in gathering as much support as Obama did in 2009.
Then White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed in a now-infamous press conference that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period.”
However, The Guardian recently revealed the inauguration photos were cropped to make the crowd size look bigger after a personal intervention from Trump.
The newspaper obtained investigative reports after requests under the Freedom of Information Act by the inspector general of the U.S. interior department. According to the documents, on Jan, 21 2017, Trump called National Park Service (NPS) acting director Michael Reynolds to convey his anger over the images being rotated on social media. Spicer then kept calling NPS officials throughout the day for photos that showed a bigger crowd size.
An NPS official told investigative officers that she had received a phone call from Reynolds after he talked with Trump and while he specifically did not ask for the photos to be “cropped,” that was what she understood of the request.
The official whose name has been redacted from the report, said, “She got the impression that President Trump wanted to see pictures that appeared to depict more spectators in the crowd” and to reduce the previously shown “empty areas.”
She then got in touch with the NPS photographer who had covered the event, with her understanding that the photos needed to be cropped.
Another NPS official, from the public affairs office, detailed a similar called she had received from Spicer on the morning of Jan. 21 2017, in which he asked for images that “accurately represented the inauguration crowd size.”
In her understanding too, Spicer’s assertion seemed like a request to “provide photographs in which it appeared the inauguration crowd filled the majority of the space in the photograph.” She also called the NPS photographer for additional photographs from the day of the inauguration.
The photographer, who had already submitted 25 photos from the day, was asked to “edit a few more” after requests from NPS officials.
“He said he edited the inauguration photographs to make them look more symmetrical by cropping out the sky and cropping out the bottom where the crowd ended,” the investigators reported, adding: “He said he did so to show that there had been more of a crowd.”
He said that is what he understood of the requirements for the second set of photos he was asked to submit, even though he was not specifically asked “to crop the photographs to show more of a crowd.”
“He selected a number of photos, based on his professional judgment that concentrated on the area of the national mall where most of the crowd was standing” the photographer told the investigators.
The investigation was a result of a February 2017 complaint which alleged NPS officials leaked information about the phone calls between Trump and Reynolds, told “undermine” him.
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