WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump falsely claimed Thursday that more people watched his State of the Union speech on TV than any other in history. Each of the last three presidents got higher ratings for State of the Union addresses.
TRUMP: “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.” — tweet.
THE FACTS: Not the highest in history. Trump’s TV viewership as measured by Nielsen (45.6 million, as he said) trailed that for first State of the Union speeches by Barack Obama (48 million), George W. Bush (51.7 million) and Bill Clinton (46.8 million).
Trump also got more TV viewers in his first speech to Congress a year ago (47.7 million) than in his first State of the Union address Tuesday night.
There is no reliable measure for how many people watched Tuesday on their computers or phones, a slice of viewership that is not counted by Nielsen. But Trump was not factoring in those viewers in his false claim. He cited the Nielsen number only.
Trump also said in his tweet that Fox News, his favorite network, drew more viewers for the State of the Union speech than other networks for the first time. That is true. He was off on the numbers, however. Nielsen said Fox drew 11.5 million viewers; Trump said 11.7 million.
Last year, Trump falsely stated that his inauguration was the best-attended ever.