On Twitter this fine February morning, the President of the United States claimed that his State of the Union speech, watched by 46 million people, was seen by "the highest number in history."
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
Though this is a fine haul, outstripping the yawners of Obama's late presidency, it's far from the winner. In fact, it wasn't even as popular as the "unofficial" one he gave last year, which clocked in at 48m viewers. (Incoming presidents give a speech to Congress instead of delivering a State of the Union address)
Two of Obama's earlier SoTU addresses won more viewers (48m in 2010 and 53m in 2009), too. Bush Jr. got 63m for his one after the Iraq War. Clinton got 53m in 1998 and 67m in 1993. But it's likely that an earlier president holds the record, from the era when nothing else was on.
There's something so weird about it. Why would Trump say it, knowing it will immediately be checked? Lying to an audience of true believers who won't care seems too simple an answer: perhaps he's being lied to and is just too disoriented and narcissistic to notice what results.
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