Did Trump’s Interview With Tucker Carlson Upstage GOP Primary Debate?


There’s a lot of buzz around the pre-taped Trump interview with Tucker Carlson that was posted at the same time as the GOP primary debate.

But what about the debate? How many people would watch it? There were questions about whether there’d be any interest without Trump’s participation, but because the interview and the debate essentially aired at the same time, many wondered if Trump’s scheme would kill interest in the debate.

According to polls, a large portion of Republicans are interested in watching. A YouGov survey found that 58% of Republicans, and 38% of Democrats, said they would “definitely” or “probably” watch the debate.

How many people actually did it?

It turns out the debate was a success. According to Sarah Arnold, our sister website Townhall reports that “the first GOP primary debate on Fox News on Wednesday night was the most watched telecast across all linear TV, digital and streaming, including more than 2 million viewers in the 25-54 age group.”

The debate that Trump had hoped would tank by him not participating and his interview with Tucker Carlson being aired at the same time also “beat over 70 percent of the presidential debates during the 2016 and 2020 elections cycles.”

This brings us to the question, How many people watched the Trump interview? The number of views the interview received has been a big deal. Sebastian Gorka, a Trump ally, claimed that Fox News is “dead” because Trump’s 75 million views were in just an hour. But, as I explained previously, this number includes people who only watch a few moments of the video or scroll past it without looking. The number of views for the same user is also included.

The Trump campaign would like us to think that the 240 million views of the interview as of Thursday night are just as valid as TV viewership figures. They can believe what they want if they want. If they believe 240 million (roughly 70 percent of the U.S. population), they are entitled to their fantasy.

The fact that, according to a poll conducted by Ipsos and cited in Ron DeSantis’s press secretary’s statement, only 7 percent of those who did not watch the GOP debate viewed the Trump interview further undermines their argument. This is not much. More people said that they were washing their clothes.

Based on the evidence, we can conclude that, despite Trump’s interview’s impressive numbers of viewers, the GOP debate was likely watched by more people.