Trump Falsely Claims His State of the Union Was Most Watched, When Obama and Bush Had More Viewers

President Donald Trump falsely claimed in a Thursday morning tweet that the 45.6 million people who tuned in to watch his first State of the Union address was the "highest number in history." In fact, President Barack Obama's first address was more popular.

"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!"

Obama's first State of the Union speech brought in 48 million viewers in 2010, while his address to a joint session of Congress in 2009 earned 52.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Trump's State of the Union also failed to top his own 2017 address to the joint session of Congress, which was viewed by 47.7 million people.

Obama's 2009 and 2010 speeches were the most watched since George W. Bush's State of the Union in 2003, when 62 million people tuned in as he argued in favor of the 2003 Iraq invasion. Bush also had 51 million viewers for his 2002 State of the Union, the first such address following the September 11 attacks. 

Bush, Obama and Trump's numbers all fall short of President Bill Clinton's first address to a joint session of Congress, in 1993, which garnered 66.9 million viewers. To date, it's the highest viewed such speech.  

GettyImages-912415548 President Donald Trump falsely claimed that the 45.6 million people who tuned in to watch his first State of the Union address Tuesday night was the "highest number in history." President Barack Obama's first State of the Union speech drew 48 million. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Trump's tweet was also generous to Fox News. The president's favorite news channel garnered 11.5 million viewers, not 11.7 million, according to Nielsen. Still, Fox News's audience made it the highest-rated State of the Union address for an individual network in cable news history, Variety reported.

Fox News dominated cable and broadcast TV ratings by a wide margin Tuesday night. On the broadcast side, it beat out NBC (7.1 million), CBS (7 million), ABC (5.4 million) and Fox (3.6 million). CNN was a distant second in cable news, with just 3.1 million viewers, followed by MSNBC with 2.7 million. Univision brought in 2 million, Telemundo had 1.4 million, and the Fox Business Network recorded 572,000 viewers.

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