Trump Spokesman Blasts Media Over Inauguration Coverage

PHOTO:Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivers a statement while television screen show a picture of U.S. President Donald Trumps inauguration at the press briefing room of the White House in Washington, January 21, 2017. PlayCarlos Barria/REUTERS
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White House press secretary Sean Spicer slammed the media in a statement to the press on his first day on the job, accusing news organizations of falsely reporting that fewer people attended Donald Trump's inauguration than attended previous inaugurations, claiming that photographs were “intentionally framed” to make the crowds appear smaller.

Spicer was disputing reports -- based largely on photographic evidence -- that the crowd gathered at Trump's inauguration was not as large as the crowd for President Obama's inauguration in 2009.

He refused to take questions from reporters but displayed a photo that he said accurately portrayed the number of Americans on the National Mall Friday.

The photograph he showed was a non-aerial shot, taken from behind the podium, looking out at the crowds. Aerial photographs of the two inaugurations run Friday, taken from the same viewpoint but taken an hour apart on the respective days, showed a distinct difference in the number of people in attendance.

The Washington, D.C., Metro system was less inundated Friday morning than it was during Obama's first inauguration. As of 11 a.m. ET, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said it had recorded 193,000 trips, compared with the 513,000 trips taken up to that time on Jan. 20, 2009. Some 317,000 trips were taken by 11 a.m. ET on Obama’s second inauguration on Jan. 21, 2013, the government agency said.

Spicer called the media "irresponsible" and said attempts to downplay the significance of the inauguration were "shameful and wrong."

He said new security measures slowed access to the National Mall.

"This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past," he said.

According to law enforcement officials ABC News spoke with during the inauguration, the checkpoints and magnetometers were cleared of all lines before the inauguration ceremony began, and by the time the event started, there were no lines.

"The security perimeter for this inauguration was extended due to lessons learned and world events. Security fencing was placed around the National Mall this inauguration. There were seven access points where bag checks only were conducted," a U.S. Secret Service spokesperson said.

Those checkpoints on the National Mall -- the non-ticketed area -- had no magnetometers and were manned by TSA, Park Police and U.S. Secret Service personnel, who checked bags.

For the ticketed section this year, additional magnetometers were added to screen more people in less time, law enforcement officials said.

There were no significant problems with the flow of people through security checkpoints for this event according to officials, and attendees were cleared in time for the event.

In 2009, several thousand ticketed attendees were trapped in the 3rd Street tunnel -- the so-called "purple tunnel of doom" -- unable to get cleared through security in time to see the swearing-in.

The National Park Service, which operates and maintains the National Mall, does not release official crowd estimates. District of Columbia officials have said that 1.8 million people attended Obama's 2009 inauguration and close to 1 million attended his second in 2013.

Before Friday's festivities, federal and District of Columbia officials estimated 700,000 to 900,000 people would attend Trump's inauguration. The D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency said it was planning for 800,000 to 900,000 people to attend the inauguration.