President Joe Biden’s first address to the joint session of Congress garnered less than half of the viewers that former President Donald Trump did in his lowest-rated speech.
According to preliminary numbers, 11.6 million people tuned in to see the president deliver his radical agenda to a nearly empty House chamber on Wednesday night dotted with handpicked attendees wearing masks and seated at least six feet from each other, despite mostly being vaccinated.
While cable and streaming numbers are expected to boost Wednesday’s viewership by at least three million more, Biden’s performance still fell short of Trump’s 2020 speech which received 37.2 million viewers. Biden’s numbers lagged even more behind Trump’s 2019, 2018, and 2017 numbers which received 46.8 million, 46 million, and 48 million viewers respectively.
Viewers who did tune into Biden’s address gave the president a worse approval rating than they did to Trump after his first speech to the joint session in 2017, CNN reported. Only 51 percent of the largely Democrat speech watchers approved of Biden’s comments, but the corporate media outlet still labeled the ratings a “very positive reaction.” This reaction was more than a 20 percent drop from when former President Obama addressed the legislative body and earned 68 percent approval, and when former President George W. Bush gave his first speech, which received 66 percent approval.
Of those who watched the speech, 60 percent said Biden made an appropriate effort to reach Republicans. Approximately 38 percent of viewers, however, “felt he did not go far enough.”