Predictable: Trump Brags About TV Ratings for SOTU (And He's Wrong)

We all knew this was coming, right?

President Donald Trump has enjoyed fairly positive press for his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening — a few items that needed fact-checking but lots of red meat for his base and even some genuinely emotionally powerful moments — but that’s not enough.


It’s not enough that even the media he denounces as “Fake News!” praised his speech. It’s not enough that the Democrats’ attempts to respond looked foolish, irrelevant, or just plain spiteful.

Nope. Our Reality TV President also has to be number one in the television ratings.

And so here’s the tweet we’ve all been expecting since the speech ended on Tuesday:

Now, 45.6 million is a lot of people. But it’s not the “highest number in history.”

According to past records of the Nielsen ratings, President Barack Obama beat Trump’s ratings twice. Obama had 52.4 million viewers for his 2009 joint address to Congress and just over 48 million viewers for his 2010 State of the Union.

President George W. Bush beat Trump several times too, in 2002 (51.8 million) and 2003 (62.1 million), as well as a virtual tie in 2007.

President Bill Clinton also bested Trump’s numbers in 1998, with 53.1 million viewers.


Tuesday wasn’t even the highest ratings for a Trump address to a joint session of Congress. Nielsen reported that 47.7 million people watched him last year in his first address on February 28, 2017.

Credit to Joe Cunningham who predicted Trump’s tweet in his analysis of the speech — almost perfectly:

This is the guy who should be president. Not the man who is going to go on Twitter tomorrow morning and post about how the ratings for his State Of The Union speech make it the most-watched State Of The Union speech ever. And, yeah, you know that’s coming.

Off by just 24 hours. Not bad, Joe. Not bad at all.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

This article has been edited to clarify that a President’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, given about a month after inauguration, is not an official State of the Union speech. 


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