Democrats’ Response To Trump’s Wall Speech Gets Higher TV Ratings Than Oval Office Address
President Donald Trump may have delivered a nationally televised speech on the border wall and illegal immigration on Tuesday night, but it was Democratic congressional leaders’ response to the address that earned higher ratings.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, early statistics showed 45% of people watching television that evening tuned in during 9 and 9:15 p.m. EST to watch Trump’ speech on border security — or as he called it, a “national emergency” — which aired on all the major networks, including NBC, CBS, MSNBC and Fox News. During the subsequent 15-minute time slot, however, 47% of TV viewers tuned in to watch Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rebuttal to the president’s Oval Office address. This corresponded to about five million more people (40 million vs. 35 million) watching the Democratic lawmakers’ response compared to Trump’s speech.
These ratings figures are surprising primarily because viewership for rebuttals to major political speeches generally tends to be low. Many people even typically tune out near the end of the first big address. Fox Sports executive Michael Mulvihill tweeted Wednesday morning that Schumer and Pelosi’s response beat Trump’s address in ratings among viewers on CNN (by 26%), ABC (by 3%) and MSNBC (by 15%). Fox, NBC and Fox News had equal ratings, while CBS earned 3% more viewers for the president.
Combined overnight ratings of seven national networks: 9-9:15, including President Trump’s address to the nation: 28.1 rating / 45 share 9:15-9:30, including Pelosi/Schumer response: 29.3 rating / 47 share
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) January 9, 2019
Despite Trump promising Pelosi and Schumer in a contentious Oval Office meeting last month that he would not blame them for the government shutdown — which entered its 20th day on Thursday — and that he would be “proud” to close the government to ensure border security, the president blamed Democrats for the shutdown anyway.
Over the weekend, Trump demanded Congress provide $5.7 billion in funding for a steel barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats have insisted they will never support such an effort, while the shutdown — which is just two days away from being the longest one in U.S. history — continues and 800,000 federal workers have been left without pay. Trump also walked out of a meeting with Pelosi and Schumer late Tuesday, threw a temper tantrum and called it “a waste of time” after the pair reiterated their refusal to support the wall.
Democratic lawmakers like Schumer and Pelosi, journalists and many other prominent figures blasted the major networks for airing Trump’s speech, primarily because of the intense fear-mongering and blatant lies the president stated in the address about undocumented immigrants and what he believed to be their violent behavior and tendencies to bring drugs. Many news outlets corrected and fact-checked several of Trump’s falsehoods.
Perhaps the most relevant statistic is that the number of total southern border crossings is at a 12-year-low. Arrests for these illegal crossings have also dropped substantially in recent years.