Do These Twitter Images Depict Trump Inauguration Crowds?

Early on Inauguration Day 2017, some older unrelated images of crowds were passed off as depictions of the Trump inauguration.

  • Published 20 January 2017
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Claim

Early images depict massive crowds at the 20 January 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump.

So many people gathering in the National Mall for #InaugurationDay. Don't believe what you see on TV. All fake news. inauguration trump crowd

Collected via Twitter, January 2017

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Origin

Early on the day of Donald Trump’s 20 January 2017 inauguration, the above-reproduced images circulated on Twitter alongside claims that they depicted crowds present for the President-elect’s swearing-in ceremonies:

fake inaugural crowds

At least one of two popular tweets was soon deleted, but traces of it remained in embeds and shares. A questionable aspect of the photographs was their timing, as they appeared on social media quite early, several hours before the ceremony began. Another questionable feature was the weather conditions they depicted, given that both photographs appeared to show mid-day sun although the morning of 20 January 2017 was clearly rainy in Washington D.C.:

One of the two images actually depicted a June 2016 parade in Cleveland to celebrate the Cavaliers’ NBA title, and image that had already been confused for a Trump rally in mid-2016.

The second photograph was also a sports-related image, one depicting the November 2015 Kansas City Royals baseball team’s championship parade.

At the time these photographs were circulated, crowds had only just started gathering in Washington, D.C., ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration: