For those of you who thought the calendar flipped to Feb. 1, 2018, this morning. You’d be wrong.
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
Sure, that tweet is dated Feb. 1, 2018, but don’t let your eyes deceive you. Time really is a flat circle, and we’re back right where we started. President Donald Trump is claiming to have had the “highest number” of viewers ever for his State of the Union address, and, as with the size of his inauguration crowd, he’s blatantly wrong.
Per @Nielsen, this tweet is incorrect. At least four State of the Union addresses garnered more of an audience, including Obama's first state of the Union in 2010. https://t.co/BeZ63IYxlP https://t.co/UPwmiEHR73
— Dan Merica (@merica) February 1, 2018
This is not "the highest number in history." Per @Nielsen, it is less than Bush '03 (62M), Clinton '98 (53M), Bush '02 (51.7M), Obama '10 (48M), and Clinton '94 (45.8M): https://t.co/948ceXxnD6 https://t.co/xxzfdLJW8W
— Gabe Fleisher (@WakeUp2Politics) February 1, 2018
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 1, 2018
Trump's #SOTU viewership actually ranks 6th (and that's just looking at the period from 2002 to the present), so roughly in the middle of all such presidential addresses to Congress in the last 15 years.
Just another lie tossed on the heap. https://t.co/nzwUGD7dru
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 1, 2018
Another false claim, Mr. President. At least three State of the Unions had a bigger TV audience (Clinton 94, Bush 02, Obama 10). You averaged 5.9 public falsehoods a day in your first year, so 4.9 left for you today. https://t.co/td3cb5FlG2
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 1, 2018
It wasn’t, but it set the tone for the administration’s frequent battle with the truth, which persists to this day.