Trump Claims More People at His Rally Than at MLK's 'I Have a Dream' Speech

Ex-President Donald Trump has said he attracted a bigger crowd for a speech at the Mall in Washington, D.C. than Martin Luther King Jr. did at the same location.

During an address in Nashville on Friday, Trump compared the turnout for a speech he gave as president nearly two years ago with the numbers who turned out to witness the civil rights leader make the iconic "I have a dream" speech nearly six decades earlier.

Trump has long complained that the media has underestimated the crowds for his speeches, starting with his former press secretary overstating the turnout at his inauguration in 2017.

Trump returned to the theme on Friday, telling attendees at the annual Faith and Freedom Coalition conference that he gave a speech on July 4, 2020 at "the same Mall" where King Jr spoke on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump a
Former U.S. President Donald Trump at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center June 17, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. He said that he drew a bigger crowd during a speech as president than civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Getty Images/Seth Herald

Trump said that images of King's speech showed "tremendous numbers of people—they said it was a million people."

"And then I gave my speech and they showed the same thing. It's hard to believe, many, many decades later, but it's identical architecture, identical pools.

"So his, they said, one million people," said Trump referring to King's speech and adding that images of his own gathering "were exactly the same, but the people were slightly closer together. They were more compact, but exactly the same.

"But there were more people. They were tighter together if you look at it," Trump said, before taking aim at the numbers that the media reported had attended his event.

"So Dr. Martin Luther King had a million and that's fine. Donald Trump with more people had 25,000," he said, referring to what the media reported.

The number who attended King's speech in which he appealed for support for the civil rights legislation proposed by President John F. Kennedy and called for an end to racism were around 250,000 people, according to History.com.

When Trump gave his speech at the Mall, media outlets and social media users said that there had been a low turnout, although the exact number has not been verified.

At the time, WTOP journalist Ken Duffy reported that those on location were no more than you'd see on an average day in Washington, D.C., and were fewer than attending past July 4th celebrations. TV news coverage also showed thin crowds for the speech, with some showing up for a fireworks show.

The New York Times' White House correspondent Maggie Haberman said Friday that people within the circle of the former president "acknowledge privately that Trump's rally crowds have gotten smaller."

In Friday's speech, Trump took aim at the January 6 committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection caused by his supporters and hinted that he would run again in 2024.