Inspector general report: Park Service did not change records of crowd size at inauguration
(The Hill) — An Office of Inspector General report on the National Park Service (NPS) found that the agency did not change records on crowd sizes at the inauguration nor did its public affairs officials leak information to the press.
The report was generated after someone alleged, among other charges, that a National Mall official told employees to “alter records related to crowd size estimates for the inauguration ceremony” and that two public affairs employees told the press about a phone call between President Trump and the park service’s acting director, according to BuzzFeed.
“We did not find evidence to substantiate any of these allegations. All of the witnesses we interviewed denied that the [National Mall] official instructed staff to alter reports on the inauguration or to remove crowd size information,” the report said.
“We also found no evidence that the public affairs employees released any information to the media about the President’s phone call, or that the employee who responded to Reynolds’ request was required to go through the chain of command,” the report added, referencing a reported phone call between Trump and acting NPS Director Michael Reynolds.
The complaint further alleged that an official with the National Park Service “circumvented” the agency’s chain of command in a response to a request from the director for photographs of the inauguration, per Trump’s request.
The report said it did not find information to support that claim either.
In January, Trump seemed incensed after photographs and public transit statistics proved that his inauguration crowds didn’t measure up to former President Barack Obama‘s 2009 swearing-in. White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the crowd sizes in a press conference, while Trump blasted press reports about his inauguration audience in a speech at CIA headquarters and continued to claim he had drawn a larger audience than estimates said.