Fact Check: Elizabeth Warren Exaggerates Crowd Sizes for the Third Time
CLAIM: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “didn’t have 20,000 people” at her rally in Manhattan on Monday night, according to President Donald Trump.
VERDICT: Likely true. The maximum capacity of Washington Square Park is 10,000.
As Trump suggested Tuesday, Warren appears to have exaggerated the size of her rally crowd in Washington Square on Monday night — apparently the third time she has done so in recent weeks.
Warren’s campaign claimed that 20,000 people had shown up for the event. However, as Breitbart News reported, New York City Parks said that the park did not hold more than 10,000 — the maximum permitted for the event.
Last month, in Minnesota, the Warren campaign claimed that she had drawn a crowd of 12,000 to the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. But college officials told Breitbart News that the field only had capacity for 3,000, with some “spillover.” Given that the event had been moved outdoors out of concern that the largest indoor hall, at a capacity of 4,000, would be too small, a generous estimate would have put the crowd at 6,000. Nevertheless, many media outlets reported the 12,000 figure, though the only source for that claim was the Warren campaign, and there was no official count from local police, campus officials, or fire marshals.
In New Hampshire, the Warren campaign claimed that a crowd of 700 people attended an outdoor town hall event on a farm in Franconia. But Breitbart News — which was there — judged the crowd at “over 300,” based on a visual estimate.
The pattern appears to be that the Warren campaign claims twice the attendance that can actually be confirmed.
There is no doubt that Warren is drawing the largest crowd of any Democratic candidate right now — certainly larger than frontrunner Joe Biden. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is also filling halls but has shied away from larger arenas.
Warren’s aim appears to be to compare her crowd sizes not with those of her Democratic rivals, but with those of President Donald Trump, who regularly draws numbers in the tens of thousands. The message Warren is sending to Democratic voters is that she will be the most competitive general election candidate against Trump. It is an indirect attack on the “electability” argument that Biden has made to the Democratic Party primary electorate.
The media seem eager to oblige her claims — and they have been caught underestimating Trump’s crowd sizes. Last month, he broke an attendance record at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, but mainstream outlets ran inaccurate stories about empty seats.
But Trump has been known to exaggerate crowd size in the past. In this case, Warren is learning from the master.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.