A night after Fox News ran President Trump’s 2020 re-election “kickoff” rally uninterrupted in primetime, Fox News host Sean Hannity handed over almost the entirety of his show to a phone interview with the president. And while their friendly conversation on Wednesday night broke little news, the president did find time to boast about his rally’s ratings—and to take an apparent jab at Hannity.
Discussing Trump’s penchant for using Twitter, Hannity noted that many people would like for Trump to “turn off the switch,” prompting the president to say he uses social media to circumvent the media. Trump then quickly pivoted to his TV ratings.
“If I don’t use social media—outside of you and a few other great people—I call them patriots,” the president told Hannity. “But actually, you’re not REALLY patriots as much as you want ratings.”
“I mean, you're getting great ratings, in all fairness Sean. It’s like, last night, you got tremendous—I heard the speech. That was an easy night, you and Tucker [Carlson] and everyone else said let’s do it and you did it.”
According to Nielsen, Hannity’s program on Tuesday night—which was largely devoted to airing the rally—drew over five million total viewers to easily lead cable news for the night. In comparison, Trump’s much-hyped primetime interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos drew an audience of only 3.9 million.
In fact, on Monday night, Hannity sent a rather unsubtle message to the president after the disappointing ratings came in for his ABC special—stick with Fox News if you want to draw viewers.
Highlighting that a March phone interview he did with Trump outdrew Stephanopoulos, Hannity said it was “humiliating” for the ABC News anchor and that he needs to “pack it up,” all while celebrating the president’s low ratings on another network.