WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, President Donald Trump took to Twitter and thanked people for their “nice compliments and reviews” for his State of the Union address, which he gave earlier this week. In his self-congratulatory tweet, Trump patted himself on the back for having “the highest number in history” watching his address — 45.6 million.
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
Unfortunately for the president, he was not quite right about having the largest audience ever, as evidenced by numbers released by the Nielsen ratings company. As Buzzfeed reporter Steven Perlberg pointed out in a tweet, Trump’s TV audience didn’t quite match up to several of his predecessors’ numbers, including Barack Obama’s first two such speeches before Congress.
Obama 2010 SOTU – 48 million
Bush 2003 – 62.1 million
Bush 2002 – 51.8 million
Clinton 1998 – 53.1 million
Clinton 1994 – 45.8 million
Nielsen sent this info out yesterday lol https://t.co/LOG8najqXl
— Steven Perlberg (@perlberg) February 1, 2018
About an hour or two after sending his tweet, Trump was in the Oval Office and had a few reporters in there with him. Trump began talking about his State of the Union address the TV audience for it. He admitted that “after a more careful look” at the numbers, he hadn’t beaten any of his recent predecessors’ numbers, but he did know one thing “for a bigly fact.”
“My ratings were so yuge, they dwarfed many, many, many presidents’ numbers,” Trump said. “In fact, I’d say my speech is probably one of the most important in our country’s great white history.”
Trump then told the reporters that his speechwriter, Stephen Miller, had given up “many hours in his sleeping coffin” to run some numbers for him. Miller found some surprising things, the president said, and he shared them with the press pool.
“I had biglier State of the Union ratings than Thomas Jefferson! It’s true, Stephen looked it up,” Trump said. “I beat John Adams too! In fact, I beat friggin’ George Washington. Did you know not a single founding father had TV ratings for their speeches like I had for mine?”
Trump boasted that it wasn’t just founders like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, or James Madison he bested. President Trump said he had better ratings for his speech than one of the “country’s most beloved orators and presidents.”
“Stephen told me something, and I gotta say when I heard it come out of his pretty little puckered Nazi mouth, I didn’t believe it at first,” Trump said. “But my State of the Union, and you can verify this yourself, folks, was higher rated than any speech given by the greatest president ever. The one who served during the Civil War.”
Trump paused, checking some notes.
“Jefferson Davis, his name was. And he was very popular indeed, probably the most popular. He’s so popular that they still have statues up in his honor all over the states I won,” Trump bragged.
His first State of the Union even had more viewers than one of the most famous speeches in American history.
“That tyrant, Lincoln, I think his name was, he was not a fan of Jeff Davis, wonderful Jeffy D, and anyway, he gave this speech I guess called the Gettysberg Lettuce or something,” Trump said. “Many people consider it a great speech. Don’t know that I do, but the point is, that stove pipe hat wearing M.F. didn’t get a single TV viewer. Can you imagine? And they want to tell me I’m not the greatest president to ever president. Pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”
Trump paused, again, this time looking in his desk drawer for a snack. He pulled out a bucket of KFC chicken, which he orders his staff to keep freshly rotated with a new bucket every hour, and put an entire drumstick in his mouth. Trump sucked the meat off the bone in one go.
“That cuck Lincoln’s got nothin’ on me,” Trump said.