President says CNN 'desperate for Trump' after low debate ratings

Staff and wire reports

Detroit — President Donald Trump called out Democrats for low debate ratings Wednesday, an hour before the second night of CNN's presidential debates kicked off. 

"Very low ratings for the Democratic Debate last night — they're desperate for Trump!" the president tweeted.

The former reality-show star is not wrong about the numbers.

The audience for Tuesday’s CNN debate will fall short of the first matchup in Miami last month, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The first of two consecutive debates this week is hosted at the Fox Theatre in Detroit and averaged a 7.3 rating in the overnight markets measured by Nielsen. The number of viewers watching nationally, which will be available later Wednesday, is likely to be in the range of 10 million viewers.

Round one of the first two-part 2020 Democratic debate shown on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo on June 26 was watched by 15.3 million viewers. The following night set a record for a Democratic primary debate with 18.1 million viewers.

CNN’s first debate in the 2016 presidential cycle drew 15.5 million viewers on Oct. 13, 2015. The overnight rating for that event was an 11.2. CNN also announced that 2.8 million watched livestream on the network’s platforms. 

President Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he arrives on Air Force One Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

The lively debate on Tuesday was a battle between the Democrats’ liberal and moderate wings, with the party’s most left-leaning candidates – Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – taking most of the fire.

Along with Warren and Sanders, CNN’s first round included Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and author and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson.

The second round will feature front-runner former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Detroit News Reporter Sarah Rahal and Los Angeles Times contributed.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_