Trump says his State of the Union viewership was 'the highest number in history.' He's wrong

President Donald Trump's State of the Union address was one of the longest in modern history. It was also one of the most watched, according to data collected by Nielsen, the television research firm.

Nearly 46 million viewers tuned into Trump's speech, making it the sixth-most-watched address to a joint session of Congress since President Bill Clinton's 1993 speech, which drew nearly 67 million viewers, according to Nielsen. In terms of first State of the Union speeches, Trump's three predecessors scored bigger TV viewership numbers.

Trump incorrectly claimed on Twitter that his viewership Tuesday was the "highest number in history."

The speech drew about 2 million fewer viewers than Trump's address to a joint session of Congress last year shortly after he was inaugurated.

Ratings and crowd size are important to Trump. Shortly after his inauguration a year ago, the president claimed the media had misrepresented the number of people attending the event.
Then-press secretary Sean Spicer touched off a controversy when he claimed, incorrectly, that "this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe." (Spicer later admitted that some of the figures he used were incorrect, though he said he believed them to be accurate at the time, according to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway suggested Spicer had been using "alternative facts" to back up his claim.)

While Trump's Tuesday speech was widely viewed around the world, each of his predecessors since Clinton has drawn bigger audiences at least once.

Here are the total audience numbers for presidents' State of the Union addresses and speeches to joint sessions of Congress since 1993:

WATCH: Highlights of Trump's State of the Union speech


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