Surprise: Donald Trumps thinks the media has it all wrong.

While most pundits analyzing the first presidential debate Monday thought Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton notched a win in the highly anticipated contest, Trump did not see it that way. The GOP nominee took to social media Monday night and appeared on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" Tuesday morning to set the record straight about why he thinks he came out ahead. 

Here are 4 reasons Trump thinks he won the debate:

He Scored Points

With the debate expected to get record ratings, Trump took many shots at Clinton and levied many of the accusations he has been making against the Democratic nominee on the campaign trail on the biggest stage of the election. Trump pressed Clinton on her vote in favor of the Iraq War, as well as her part in overseeing the troop withdrawal many experts say created the power vacuum that led to the Islamic State group. He pointed out her previous support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, tried to get her to distance herself from President Barack Obama's support of the trade deal, linked her to the NAFTA trade deal, which he described as a disaster, and claimed the Iran nuclear deal, which Clinton supports, makes America unsafe. He also continued to label Clinton as an "establishment" politician that, in her close to 30 years in government, has not made the kind of changes she is promising a reality. 

Many will have found his demeanor in criticizing her to be disrespectful and many others will pick apart the veracity of his attacks, but Trump was certainly able to echo some of his favorite jabs from the campaign trail on the debate stage. 

He Went High

During the debate, Hillary quoted Michelle Obama's 2016 Democratic National Convention speech — "When they go low, we go high" — to pile on criticize Trump's defense of propagating the Obama "birther" controversy. But it is Trump who says he should be lauded for going high. Before the debate, the GOP nominee had suggested many times that he might confront Clinton about former President Bill Clinton's multiple reported affairs. Trump did not. And he said Tuesday that he deserves praise for the restraint. 

Lester Holt

From Trump's perspective, his debate performance must be judged with the understanding that the debate itself was unfair to him. Moderator Lester Holt grilled Trump on many of the more outlandish claims the candidate has made, including his "birther" claims and accusations that Clinton does not "have the look" to be president, as well as things he has said that are frankly untrue, such as his insistence that he was on record opposing the Iraq invasion.

Trump did not appreciate the fact check. He called out Holt on "Fox and Friends" for his alleged unfair treatment and implied he had to overcome being outnumbered on stage to deliver at the debate, thus bolstering his performance. Trump said Holt did not bother to grill Clinton as extensively on her own scandals. 


After the debate, Trump went on a retweet spree, forwarding many of the post-debate online polls tabulated by many of the major news sites. Many of those online polls named Trump the winner of the debate. While there is nothing scientific about those polls — and more scientific focus groups conducted by multiple news outlets deemed Clinton the winner — Trump is holding up the online surveys as proof of his victory.