Early ratings for Trump’s speech to Congress show that former President Barack Obama beat the former reality TV show host in the ratings, with a 17 percent lead in viewers.
Barely more than a month into his term in office, and Americans are already tired of Trump’s worn-out, simplistic, and hateful speeches. Although his right-wing base is enthusiastic, most moderate Americans and just so over it.
Variety reported that the ratings were dim for Trump’s first speech to Congress that aired Tuesday night, which must be getting under his skin by now. Trump’s history as a performer and carnival barker for various “reality” TV shows, pageants, and wrestling matches taught him all about the importance of TV ratings. In fact, it seems to be how he measures his success as a president, by approval ratings and numbers in his rally audiences.
Although many politicos and pundits were pleasantly surprised that Trump was able to string together coherent sentence for a whole hour with the aid of a teleprompter, Nielsen overnight ratings show that Americans really aren’t that interested.
Across the seven networks that broadcast Trump’s first address to the joint session of Congress, the White House Resident reached a 27.8 household rating in early calculations. Former President Obama’s first address to both houses of Congress in February 2009 clocked an overnight household rating of 33.4, a difference of 17 percent.
Fox News drew the biggest household rating with a 6.4. Ratings for other networks, in order, are NBC with 5.5, CBS with 4.6, ABC with 4.0, CNN with 3.0, Fox Broadcasting with 2.3, and MSNBC with 2.0.
Neilsen will have the final ratings for the speech on Wednesday afternoon. Once finalized, President Obama’s first address to Congress ended up with an audience of 52.37 million people. George W. Bush’s first address brought in 39.79 million (although his State of the Union address in 2003 brought in a massive 62 million viewers).
Trump’s speech was more positive than the doom and gloom he normally spreads when trying to win Americans over to his autocratic, nationalist policies by exaggerating the threat of criminal immigrants, foreign conspiracy theories about money manipulation and climate change, and a host of other terrifying fairy tales.
He continued to offer very little detail, however, on how his policies will address any of these concerns. On top of many American’s list is the concern over the cost of healthcare, which Trump admitted recently was more complicated than he thought.
One of the possible reasons for Trumps shift in tone is his continuing downward slide in approval. According to The New York Times, Trump’s 180 is “striking, to put it mildly.”
“But on Tuesday, the president rolled the dice, and went for nice. In style, if not substance, Mr. Trump delivered an address that nearly any of his Republican primary opponents — whom he once savaged as establishment stooges — might have delivered had they been standing at the rostrum.”
Whether or not Trump can maintain an actual presidential demeanor under the many stresses of the office is a question that only time can answer. For many Americans, this attempt to inspire, rather than accuse, comes a bit too little and far too late.
For the TL;DR version of Trump’s speech, you can see some of the highlights in this 90-second version from CNN.
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