President Donald Trump failed in at least one aspect of his speech on troop increases in Afghanistan — he failed to garner more ratings than former President Barack Obama did in a similar speech in 2009.
Obama’s 2009 speech on Afghanistan brought in around 40 million viewers across America, according to Nielsen ratings at that time, which was delivered in December. Trump’s speech on Monday was viewed by around 27 million viewers, or about 33 percent less viewership than Obama, the Hill reports.
It’s unlikely that anyone from the Trump administration will bring this fact to light. However, in similar situations in the past, the administration has insisted that they received higher viewership than what Obama got, even when visual evidence and other data contradicted their statements.
The administration insisted that more people saw President Trump’s inauguration than President Obama’s, despite aerial footage that showed a dismal showing at best for Trump and a substantial attendance for Obama. When that information was brought to light, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that television and online streaming viewership were much higher than Obama’s numbers, making the statement accurate in their minds.
But even those numbers didn’t hold up: looking at livestream numbers alone, Obama still had a higher rate of viewership than Trump.
The current president spoke on Monday about the important role the U.S. still had to play in Afghanistan. In his speech, he did not cite specific figures, but reports indicate that around 4,000 additional troops could be deployed to Afghanistan on his orders in the coming months.
Many have criticized Trump for his plan, which is bare on specifics and doesn’t include a definition of what victory might entail. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for instance, decried Trump’s plan on being short on actually doing anything positive for the region or for America:
“The President said he knew what he was getting into and had a plan to go forward. Clearly, he did not.”
Watch a video of Trump’s speech on his Afghanistan strategy: