Obama’s Afghanistan Speech Got Better Ratings Than President Trump’s

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Nearly 28 million Americans tuned in to watch President Donald Trump address the nation about Afghanistan Monday night, 13 million fewer than those who watched President Obama’s primetime speech on the same topic in 2009.

In total, 27, 788,000 people watched Trump’s speech Monday night across eight broadcast and cable networks; ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen.

Demographically, the highest viewership was among those 55 and older; over 17 million people in this age group watched his speech. By comparison, only 2 million people between the ages of 18 and 34 watched the speech on television.

Nielsen did not release breakdowns by television network to TIME. Fox News said in a statement citing Nielsen data that they had the highest viewership overall during the speech, with over 4.7 million people watching.

In December of 2009, Barack Obama also delivered a primetime address on military strategy on Afghanistan, which, according to data from Nielsen, drew 40.8 million viewers across the broadcast and cable networks. Those ratings included Univision and Telemundo, but not Fox Business Network.

During Trump’s address, which he delivered in Fort Meyers, Va., the President acknowledged that he had agreed to deviate from pledges during his campaign to remove troops from Afghanistan, acknowledging that a full exit would “create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill.” He did not, however, provide any specifics on the timetables for withdrawal or the number of additional troops that would be deployed.

“My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts, but all of my life I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every angle,” Trump said during his address.

Trump regularly boasted during the 2016 campaign that his events brought news networks high ratings. His joint address to Congress on February 28 drew an estimated 48 million viewers across the broadcast and cable networks, according to data from Nielsen.


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Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com