Size matters, it turns out. Especially when it comes to something like the budget.
The photo of the crowd at President Donald Trump’s inauguration side-by-side with former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration is already haunting the new administration. While the inauguration festivities were ripe with meme-able content, it’s that bird’s eye view of the crowd that just keeps rearing its head in the strangest places. After the photo went viral on Friday, it returned as the primary subject matter of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s Saturday press conference, and now, again, in a confirmation hearing for budget director pick Mick Mulvaney.
Facing questioning from Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, Mulvaney was presented with a poster-sized blowup of the two shots and asked which crowd was bigger. (He answered 2009, for the record.)
Mulvaney raised some skepticism about what this had to do with the Office of Management and Budget, but Merkley deflected, saying “presenting falsehoods as ‘alternative facts,’” especially where it pertains to the budget, could be disastrous. The line of questioning continued to discuss tax cuts of the 1980s and proposed changes to the tax code that might “decrease services for struggling American families.”
There were no posters for that portion of the discussion.