Donald Trump has warned a “big price” will be paid by reporters who allegedly lied about the size of the crowds at his inauguration ceremony.
The president hit out at reports that considerably fewer people turned out to watch him take the oath of office than at Barack Obama’s first inauguration.
Pictures shared on social media appeared to show acres of empty space on the National Mall where an estimated 1.8 million people stood to see his predecessor in 2009.
However Mr Trump’s team said that his was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration” and slammed reports as “shameful”.
Speaking at the CIA headquarters in Virginia, Mr Trump said the reports did not reflect the scene from his vantage point on Capitol Hill.
“We had a massive field of people, you saw them - packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks and they show an empty field,” the president said.
“I said ‘wait a minute, I made a speech’, I looked out the field was, it looked like a million, a million and a half people, they showed a field where there were practically nobody standing.
“Honestly it looked like a million and a half people, whatever it was, it was. But it went all the way back to the Washington monument.”
Mr Trump but criticised one network for reporting that just 250,000 people showed up.
“That’s a lie,” said Mr Trump, adding: “So we caught them. And we caught them in a beauty. And I think they’re going to pay a big price.”