Melania Trump gives Republican convention a ratings boost with 19.4 million TV viewers

VIDEO | 25:49
Melania Trump attempts rebranding of her husband in RNC speech

The first lady breaks presidential protocol by delivering convention address from the White House Rose Garden.


First Lady Melania Trump’s speech from the White House Rose Garden lifted the TV audience for the Republican National Convention to 19.4 million viewers, an improvement over the opening night.

The figure from Nielsen is up 14% from the 17 million who watched the Repubicans on Monday.

In 2016, the first time Republicans nominated President Trump, the audience for the second night of the convention was 19.8 million, the smallest audience of the week for the event.


The Republicans’ audience on Tuesday was slightly better than the second night of the Democratic National Convention held last week, which had 19.2 million viewers. Over four nights, the DNC’s presentation averaged 21.6 million viewers.

Melania Trump sought to recast her husband’s image in an RNC speech that was often at odds with the hard-edged reality of the Trump presidency.

Aug. 25, 2020

Since 1960, the Democratic convention has scored higher ratings than the Republican one in all but four of the last 15 presidential campaign cycles. The ratings have not been an indicator of success in the presidential election; the party with the most-watched convention has won the White House in seven of those races.

But the Republicans’ improvement on the second night should please Trump, a close watcher of the Nielsen ratings since his days as host of the NBC reality show “The Apprentice.”

Fox News was the most-watched channel for coverage between 10 and 11:15 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, with an average of 7.9 million viewers, followed by NBC (2.5 million), CNN (2.12 million), ABC (2.09 million), MSNBC (1.9 million) and CBS (1.5 million). The audience for Fox News, the favorite network of Trump supporters, is the largest ever for a cable network on the second night of a political convention.

Coverage also ran on Fox Business Network, Newsy, Newsmax, CNN en Español and PBS.

Along with the first lady, speakers in the hour included Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Kentucky Atty. Gen. Daniel Cameron, and Trump’s son Eric.

The hour also included Trump participating in a naturalization ceremony with several immigrants at the White House.