Sean Spicer
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, cited “alternative facts” in an interview Monday, but the genuine facts continue to show that Trump’s inauguration was a long way from having the highest attendance ever.

Trump had set the scene in the run-up to Friday’s inauguration by predicting that the crowd size on the National Mall would be “astronomical” and “record setting.” And even when photographic evidence and other official indicators hugely contradicted this forecast Friday, his team doubled down.

After Trump criticized media coverage during a visit to CIA headquarters Saturday, a few hours later his Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivered a fiery statement in front of the media in which he claimed that “this was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period.”

The National Park Service which oversees the National Mall does not provide official estimates on crowd sizes. The Park Service did, though, retweet a photo comparison of the stark difference in the crowd sizes for Trump’s inauguration and the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. That tweet was later deleted and an apology tweeted out, reportedly after the Trump administration asked it to stop tweeting.

Inauguration crowd photos
A combination of photos taken at the National Mall shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremonies to swear in President Donald Trump at 12:01pm (L) Jan. 20, 2017 and President Barack Obama Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington, DC, Reuters/Lucas Jackson (L), Stelios Varias

The photos showed that while the National Mall was completely packed for Obama’s first swearing-in, there were large empty spaces further down the mall for Trump. Certainly, it was not the case that, as Spicer claimed, the Nation Mall was full to capacity from the platform where Trump was sworn-in to the Washington Monument.

There were 250,000 free tickets officially distributed by Congress for the areas closest to the platform. But even those areas were not full and the numbers were sparse beyond that, a photo taken just moments after he was sworn in showed. Instead, the crowd is estimated at being between 250,000 and 600,000.

But even if Spicer’s claim of the National Mall being full was true – which it isn’t – it would put the attendance at 720,000 which is still far less than the 1.8 million people estimated to have attended Obama’s first inauguration and even the 1 million thought to have witnessed his second.

Another Spicer falsehood concerned his claim that it was the “first time in our nation’s history” floor coverings had been used to protect grass on the National Mall, giving the effect of highlighting the empty spaces. Floor coverings were also used four years ago.

Spicer was similarly misleading when citing ridership numbers on the Washington Metro. Spicer claimed that 420,000 people used the Metro on the day of Trump’s inauguration, compared to the 317,000 riders for Obama’s first swearing in. However, 317,000 was the number of riders at 11 a.m., not for the whole day. And, as the Metro itself tweeted, the same number for Trump was just 193,000.

For all of Friday, the number for Trump was 570,557, less than the 1.1 million in 2009, the 782,000 in 2013 and even the 583,803 that watched President George W. Bush’s second inauguration in 2005. It is also far fewer than the more than 1 million users Saturday, the day of the Women’s March.