By the Numbers

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway coined a new term for lies as she spoke on “Meet the Press” this week, calling them “alternative facts.” The phrase shares the same Latin root—"factum”—as the word Formerly Known as Fact, which had historically been defined by Merriam-Webster as “the quality of being actual.”

An “alternative fact” is exactly like the old-fashioned fact with the exception of a minor germ line mutation: it's not true. In all other ways—invoked to back an argument, delivered emphatically to make a point, often equated with “truth”—it is exactly like a fact. “Alt facts,” a favorite tool of the alt-right, gather credence with repetition.

Although grammatically speaking, the word “alternative” modifies the noun “fact,” the reality is that facts are the only thing that can modify “alternative facts.” In fact (haha!), “alt facts” are best understood, linguistically speaking, as antonyms to facts.

In an effort to set the record straight and give a factual lay of the land for this past week's major events, I have collected the following series of statistics. (Karen Houppert)

Number of metro riders on the day of Obama’s 2009 inauguration, according to Metro officials:

1.1 million

Of metro riders on Saturday as the Women’s March on Washington took place, according to Metro officials:


Of metro riders on the day of Trump’s 2017 inauguration, according to Metro officials:


Number of people Trump said attended his Jan. 20 inauguration:

“[I]t looked like a million, million and a half people.”

Number of days on the job when White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period—both in person and around the globe”:


Number of viewers Nielsen estimated watched Trump’s inauguration:

31 million

Of viewers Nielsen estimated watched Obama’s 2009 inauguration:

37.7 million

Number of Pinocchio noses (lies) New York Times fact-checkers awarded “alternative fact” wiz Spicer for statements he made during his first press conference about the size of the inaugural crowd:


Number of tweets sent about the inauguration, according to Twitter:

12 million

Number of minutes that Trump spoke during the inauguration:


Number of times Trump said the word “great” during his inaugural speech:


Times Trump said “wealth”:


Times Trump said “power”:


Times Trump said “peace”:


Number of previous presidents who had not served in the military or held public office:


Percentage of Americans who approve of how Trump handled his presidential transition, according to a Jan. 17 CNN/ORC poll:


Time elapsed before Trump tweeted about “phony” CNN/ORC poll and called the above “rigged”:

2 hours, 11 minutes

Number of House Democrats who boycotted the inauguration:


Of Senators who boycotted the inauguration:


Square footage of Trump’s apartment in Trump Tower:


Of his new home on Pennsylvania Avenue:


Cost of Kellyanne Conway’s Gucci dress worn to the inauguration:


Hourly wage of a worker picking up inauguration day trash:


Number of employees on the inaugural committee, according to Tom Barrack speaking on NBC:


Of security people working at the inauguration:


Estimated cost of inauguration, according to the Washington Post:

$175 to $200 million

Number of police officers who sustained minor injuries during clashes with protesters on inauguration day:


Numbers of protesters arrested in Washington D.C. on inauguration day:


In New York, in front of Trump Tower:


In San Francisco:


Number of “Democracy Spring” protesters who were escorted out of the ticketed area by police as they recited the preamble to the Constitution during Trump’s swearing in:


Percentage discount the Russian Army’s flagship retail store in Moscow offered Americans this week:


Number of days into his administration when Trump signed an executive order demanding the end of Obamacare:


Number of people the Congressional Budget Office last week estimated would lose their health insurance as a result:

18 million

Number of days the Women’s March on Washington was called the Million Women March before it was renamed:


Number of times organizers have named their marches Million something since Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March:


Number of suffragists who walked in the original “Women’s March” in 1913, a day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson:


Years after that march before white women got the right to vote:


Number injured by hostile crowds who told the women at that march they should have stayed home where they belonged:


Number injured by hostile crowds at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington:


Number of sister marches around the country and around the world, according to organizers:


Number of speakers at the march, according to organizers:


Number of women who agreed to march on Washington within hours of retired attorney Teresa Shook suggesting it on Facebook:


Number of people crowd scientists estimate attended the Women’s March, according to the New York Times:


Of people crowd scientists estimate attended the inauguration:


Number of lactation tents:


Number of locations with portajohns:


Number of people forming a line to pee behind a bush near 9th and C streets SW at 2:10 p.m.:


Number of RTs that Bernie Sanders got in response to his tweeted crowd shot of the Women’s March on Washington and this comment, “President Trump, you made a big mistake. By trying to divide us up by race, religion, gender, and nationality you actually brought us closer”: