Donald Trump will appear on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday morning. The real-estate mogul and reality-television personality will join two other Republican U.S. presidential hopefuls, retired Dr. Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, on the program, NBC News announced via Twitter Saturday.
— NBC News PR (@NBCNewsPR) September 19, 2015
Trump’s Aug. 16 appearance on “Meet the Press” delivered the biggest total-viewer audience of any segment since Chuck Todd took over the program last fall. Todd’s exclusive interview with Trump also produced the most viewers the show has drawn since Feb. 9, 2014, the opening day of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
Trump’s proclivity in sparking controversy and unfiltered speaking style has drawn unprecedented numbers of viewers across U.S. media.
More than 24 million viewers tuned in last month to watch the GOP primary debate on the Fox News Channel. The Aug. 6 event, featuring the top 10 Republican candidates running for the 2016 presidential nomination, was the highest-rated primary debate in TV history, as well as the highest-rated nonsports cable telecast of all time in total viewers, Fox News reported.
A similar debate on CNN Sept. 16 averaged 23.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched program in the cable-news network’s history. The day after the event, Trump tweeted about the ratings and said he wondered whether the network would send him “flowers and a thank-you note,” as CNN reported.
Despite Trump’s drawing power, the big winner of the CNN debate appears to have been competitor Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. Fiorina is now leading the GOP field in New Hampshire, with 22 percent support among Republican primary voters in the Granite State, according to Voter Gravity poll results released Friday. Fiorina holds a lead of 4 percentage points over Trump, her nearest rival, who has 18 percent of voters' support.
Meanwhile, the eccentric Trump took to Twitter again Saturday to respond to critics who have accused him of furthering the spurious notion that President Barack Obama is a foreign-born Muslim, as opposed to a native-born American citizen and a Christian. Years ago, Trump was among the loudest members of the so-called Birther movement, which alleged Obama was not born in the U.S. and was therefore ineligible to be president.
Trump rhetorically asked his 4.21 million Twitter followers whether he was morally obligated to defend Obama every time someone said something bad about the president. He then provided his own reply: “I don’t think so!”