President Donald Trump seemed to unintentionally reignite the debate over the crowd size at his inauguration on Twitter Saturday, saying his supporters should participate in a rally and claiming such a rally “would be the biggest of them all!”
It is unclear what prompted the tweet from Trump, who has frequently referred to his supporters are part of the greatest political movement in U.S. history, per Bloomberg. He has also repeatedly accused the media of refusing to show the size of the crowds at his rallies, though this claim has been disputed by PolitiFact.
However, when it comes to a hypothetical rally of all Trump supporters, former Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders was quick to point out that the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd size was smaller than previous inaugurations.
Trump and his administration have insisted that his inauguration crowd was one of the biggest in history and attacked the media for reporting that it was smaller than that of his predecessor, Barack Obama, despite all available evidence indicating that it was.
Roughly an hour later, Trump renewed his attacks on the news media, accusing the press of ignoring a decline in the national debt during his first month in office.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Treasury, the debt did in fact decrease by $12 billion from Jan. 20 to Feb. 21, and has actually continued to drop to a further $22 billion since then. Furthermore, during Obama’s first term, the national debt did increase by $212 billion.
However, PolitiFact rates Trump’s claim as mostly false, saying it lacks context due to the constantly flucuating nature of the national debt and projections that indicate the debt will actually increase under a Trump presidency.
CBS News also pointed out that Trump is claiming credit despite having not enacted any legislation regarding the economy. Meanwhile, the increase under Obama coincided with an economic recession and the enactment of a massive stimulus package aimed at boosting the economy.
Fewer than 10 minutes after his tweet about the national debt, Trump fired off another message about the economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average did enjoy its 11th straight record high close on Friday, the longest such stretch since 1987, according to USA Today. Meanwhile, the Gallup Economic Confidence Index, a weekly poll measuring Americans’ feelings on the present and future economy, is higher than it ever was during Obama’s presidency, though it has slumped slightly from its high point at the end of January.
Trump has said he inherited an economic “mess” from Obama and has consistently criticized official data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that indicate the unemployment rate has dropped from 10 percent in October 2009 to 4.6 percent by November 2016. The most recent report from the Bureau has the current unemployment rate at 4.8 percent.
Just before 5 p.m. Eastern time, Trump tweeted that he would not be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner this year.
The decision hardly qualifies as surprising given the acrimonious relationship Trump has had with the press throughout his candidacy and first month in office. In previous statements, he has called the media the “enemy of the American People,” and while the White House Correspondents Association has said it still plans to hold the dinner, at which media outlets, government officials and the president often rub shoulders, numerous publications, including Bloomberg and Vanity Fair, have said they will also not hold events related to the dinner this year.