President Donald Trump on Thursday morning seemed thrilled with the response to his State of the Union Speech, as well as the fact that many people tuned into his favorite network Fox News to watch it.
But, similar to his obsession over the crowd size at his inauguration, Trump could not seem to resist lying and boasting about his viewership numbers.
“Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech,” Trump tweeted. “45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. @FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!”
Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech. 45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. @FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2018
Trump claimed the 45.6 million people who watched was the highest number of people to watch a presidential address to Congress in history, but this is far from the truth — especially when looking at true first State of the Union speeches by a president.
In fact, according to Nielsen — which tracks measurements like viewership — Trump wasn’t even close.
Former President Barack Obama had 48 million viewers during his January 2010 address, 52.4 million during a February 2009 address, while former President George W. Bush topped the list with 62 million viwers in January 2003 and 51.8 million in January 2002. Former President Bill Clinton had a viewership of 45.8 million in 1994.
Trump’s own speech to a joint session of Congress last year even attracted more viewers than his State of the Union at 47.7 million.
Trump’s claim is not all that different from his accusations that the media misrepresented the number of people at his January 2017 inauguration. Congress has long prohibited the National Park Service from making official crowd estimates and photos taken at similar times during Trump’s inauguration versus Obama’s seem to back up the reports that Obama’s crowd was larger.