Despite Trump's best efforts to hype the event, 8 million fewer people tuned in to watch him announce his Supreme Court pick this year than last.
Trump looks back at his nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch as one of the best moments of his presidency, and was hoping to replicate the reality-TV-style spectacle on Monday when he revealed the name of his pick to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.
But after days of him planning and hyping the event, Monday night’s primetime announcement turned out to be a ratings dud.
According to AdWeek, viewership for this week’s big reveal of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Trump’s Supreme Court pick was down more than 21 percent, or 8 million people, from the Gorsuch announcement in 2017.
The live event, which more closely resembled the final rose ceremony from “The Bachelor” than a serious and consequential presidential statement, aired on more than a dozen channels Monday at 9 p.m. EST.
Trump is notoriously obsessed with ratings, especially television ratings. He infamously started his presidency by bragging about the television ratings for his inauguration, which the White House then lied about to make Trump feel better about his small inaugural crowd size.
And while Trump frequently touts the ratings for his unofficial propaganda arm, Fox News, he doesn’t hesitate to jeer at or lie about other networks for their ratings.
As the Hollywood Reporter documented in October 2017, “Trump has criticized the following institutions for what he sees as declining ratings: ESPN (“tanked”), the National Football League (“bad,” “way down”), NBC (“way down”), CNN (“way down,” “ratings challenged”) and the Primetime Emmy Awards (“bad,” “the worst ever”).”
It’s clear that Trump closely monitors the ratings for his own television appearances, as well. When he announced his decision to pardon disgraced Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio last August, he whined about the low number of people who watched him on television.
Given how much time and effort he spent hyping Monday night’s announcement, there’s little doubt that Trump is poring over the numbers and raging about his own “way down” ratings — or perhaps he’ll pretend he didn’t see them and just suggest making television ratings illegal, like he did recently in the face of his plummeting poll numbers.