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Inflated inauguration numbers called ‘alternative facts’ by top Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway defends White House press secretary’s inauguration numbers as ‘alternative facts’
WATCH: NBC's Meet The Press host Chuck Todd and Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway got into a tense exchange over White House press secretary Sean Spicer's attack on the media over their reports on inauguration crowd numbers.

Kellyanne Conway, a top aide to President Donald Trump is characterizing Sean Spicer’s comments about crowd size at an inauguration as “alternative facts.”

Conway told NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning that it was unfair for the media to report that Trump’s inauguration was smaller than President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Prior to his inauguration, Trump predicted his inauguration would have “an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout.”

READ MORE: Donald Trump scoffs at protesters on Twitter: ‘Why didn’t these people vote?’

Conway said she believes the threat of rain might have deterred supporters and said, “I don’t think ultimately presidents are judged by crowd sizes at their inauguration. I think they are judged by their accomplishments.”

When asked why Trump press secretary Sean Spicer mischaracterized the inauguration as the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe,” Conway said he was merely offering “alternative facts.”

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This pair of photos shows a view of the crowd on the National Mall at the inaugurations of President Barack Obama, above, on Jan. 20, 2009, and President Donald Trump, below, on Jan. 20, 2017. The photo above and the screengrab from video below were both shot shortly before noon from the top of the Washington Monument.
This pair of photos shows a view of the crowd on the National Mall at the inaugurations of President Barack Obama, above, on Jan. 20, 2009, and President Donald Trump, below, on Jan. 20, 2017. The photo above and the screengrab from video below were both shot shortly before noon from the top of the Washington Monument. AP Photo

Though no official attendance numbers had been released of as Saturday afternoon, live television footage and photographs from Friday’s inauguration show large gaps of empty space in the crowd at the National Mall.

At a press conference at the Central Intelligence Agency Headquarters Saturday Trump told reporters the news outlets will pay a “big price” for what he claims is dishonesty.

Following Trump’s comments, Spicer lashed out at the media over refuting inauguration crowd numbers.

WATCH: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivers statement refuting claims of low attendance at inauguration

White House Press Secretary delivers statement refuting claims of low attendance at inauguration
White House Press Secretary delivers statement refuting claims of low attendance at inauguration

“We know that 420,000 people used the DC Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama’s last inaugural,” Spicer said. “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.”

One way to help measure relative turnout for Trump is by using the ridership on Washington D.C.’s metro system. The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, which operates the subway, tweeted that as of 11 a.m. on Friday, approximately 193,000 people had taken the Metro.

In 2009, the number at the same hour was 513,000. The ridership ahead of George Bush’s second inauguration in 2005 was 197,000.

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WATCH: Donald Trump speaks at CIA headquarters 

*With Files from Adam Frisk