Images appear to show hundreds of empty seats at Donald Trump’s first annual White House tree lighting ceremony.
The 71-year-old led an audience in a countdown at President’s Park late on Thursday afternoon, before First Lady Melania Trump pressed a button to light up a giant Christmas tree.
But social media users were quick to point out what appeared to be a sparse crowd during the traditional ceremony.
Steve Rudin, a weather forecaster for ABC7 News who was in attendance at the event, shared an image of the crowd size on Twitter.
“The National Tree Lighting ceremony was beautiful this evening - but hard not to notice the empty seats,” he wrote.
Mr Rudin said the photo was taken at 5.30pm, before Mr Trump began speaking, but claimed the seats “did not fill up once the show started”.
“Once the President and First Family arrived, I believe the entire place went on lock-down with very little if any movement from the outside in,” he added.
Some social media users claimed the crowd size appeared smaller than at Barack Obama’s final tree lighting ceremony in 2016.
It was also 5 degrees colder for Obama's 2016 tree lighting ceremony And the wind was blowing from NW at 8-10 mph, while Trump ceremony the wind was at 3 mph from the SE. So, it felt much colder in 2016. pic.twitter.com/0s6xUHrYLj— Alternative NOAA (@altNOAA) December 1, 2017
But some Trump supporters came to the defence of the President. One user said: "Trump's supporters don't live in the Swamp. How hard is that to understand? If he had done the ceremony in Missouri, we would pack the place."
The Independent contacted the Metropolitan DC Police the Public Information Office and the US Park Police, who were all unable to confirm attendance numbers.
Mr Trump, who has taken to calling himself “your favourite President” in recent months, was left furious after images showed the audience at his January inauguration ceremony was far smaller than Mr Obama’s 2008 swearing in.
Claiming the media reports were an effort to “demean” him, he said: “We had a massive crowd of people. We had a crowd… I looked over that sea of people, and I said to myself, ‘wow’, and I’ve seen crowds before.
“Big, big crowds. That was some crowd.”
The White House has been contacted for comment.