Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump boasts ‘highest’ television audience for state-of-the-union speech, but ratings say otherwise

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 February, 2018, 10:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 February, 2018, 10:29pm

President Donald Trump wants the world to know he is not the only one impressed by his maiden state-of-the-union speech performance, boasting on Thursday morning of the “highest” television audience numbers in history.

Except, they weren’t.

“Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the state-of-the-nation speech. 45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history,” Trump tweeted.

“@FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!” he added, referring to his preferred cable and satellite television news channel.

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But Nielsen ratings show that three of Trump’s predecessors surpassed his audience numbers during their first time giving the high-profile speech before Congress.

Democrat Bill Clinton had 45.8 million viewers in 1994, compared to 51.8 million for George W. Bush, a Republican, in 2002 and Democrat Barack Obama’s 48 million in 2010.

The American president and former reality television host’s fascination with his own television ratings recalls a controversy he triggered at the very start of his mandate more than a year ago.

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Upset over aerial photographs on social media showing smaller crowds at his inauguration than Obama’s eight years before, Trump went on the offensive, falsely accusing the media of misreporting inaugural crowd numbers after millions took to the streets against the new president.