Donald Trump has falsely claimed that his tumultuous first debate with Joe Biden on Tuesday was the most watched event in the history of cable TV - despite figures showing 13 percent slump in viewership compared to 2016.
Trump first made the false claim in a tweet and then again later during a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday night.
The incumbent president told the large, jubilant crowd gathered Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport that the debate 'had the highest ratings in the history of cable television.'
He also asserted the event - since branded a 'dumpster fire' and 'national disgrace' by critics - 'had second-highest ratings of overall television in the history of television.'
But TV viewership figures released by Nielsen earlier Wednesday suggested otherwise.
Stats show that an average of 73,123,000 viewers tuned in across 16 TV networks from approximately 9pm to 11pm EDT to watch Biden and Trump on Tuesday.
Comparatively, 84 million tuned in across 13 networks to watch Trump's match-up with Clinton four years ago.
The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden likely attracted a much smaller audience than the record set four years ago. But Trump said Wednesday that figures were 'very high'
In 2016, 45.3 million viewers watched the debate with Hillary Clinton on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox but those channels only drew in 28.82 million for this year's initial ratings
But despite the dip in viewership, Trump spent the majority of Wednesday insisting the programming still received 'tremendous views',
'I think the debate last night was great. We've gotten tremendous reviews,' Trump said on the lawn of the White House Wednesday afternoon. 'I see the ratings were very high.'
Hours later, Trump bizarrely celebrated in a tweet: ‘HIGHEST CABLE TELEVISION RATINGS OF ALL TIME. SECOND HIGHEST OVERALL TELEVISION RATINGS OF ALL TIME. Some day these Fake Media Companies are going to miss me, very badly!!!’
During his rally on Wednesday, Trump opened the event with another lie that had been disproven before he even told it.
'Joe Biden lost badly. He should cancel the rest of his debates. Now I understand that he is going to cancel the debates,' Trump claimed.
However, just hours after Tuesday's chaotic debate, Biden's campaign pledge the former vice president would appear at both the forthcoming face-offs between the candidates.
Furthermore, Biden does not have the authority to cancel presidential debates.
'Liberal media is upset that I took the fight to Biden and exposed his very dangerous agenda,' Trump told the crowd. 'Arson is OK, but challenging Sleepy Joe is totally off limits.
'Now I understand he’s canceling the debates, let’s see what happens. I think that’s not going to be a good move.'
Although Tuesday’s debate fell short of 2016’s numbers, with the exception of Clinton v Trump, only one other debate in the past 45 years has drawn in more viewers: the 1980 presidential parley between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter
Trump said on the lawn of the White House that the programming got 'tremendous views'
Although Tuesday’s debate fell short of 2016’s numbers, with the exception of Clinton v Trump, only one other debate in the past 45 years has drawn in more viewers: the 1980 presidential parley between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, which landed an audience of 80.6 million.
This means it surpassed the three opening presidential debates preceding 2016’s: George W. Bush vs. John Kerry in 2004 (62.5 million); Barack Obama vs. John McCain in 2008 (52.4 million); and Obama vs. Mitt Romney in 2012 (67.2 million).
Tuesday’s debate was also the most watched event on American TV since the Super Bowl last February (100 million).
Fox News was the most watched of all the networks, drawing in 17.8 million, followed by ABC with 12.6 million, NBC with 9.7 million and CNN with 8.3 million.
Fox was also on top among viewers in the 25-54 news demographic, with 5.3 million, followed by ABC with 4.9 million, NBC with 4.1 million and CNN with 3.5 million.
It was one of the biggest nights in Fox News’s history, second only to the first Republican primary debate in 2015, which landed an audience of 24 million.
The Nielsen numbers, released on Wednesday, do not include people who streamed the