Trump’s debate counter-programming draws millions of views on X

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump, who opted out of a Republican primary debate on Fox News on Wednesday, attracted millions of viewers who watched – or at least scrolled by – a rival interview on social media platform X.

The 46-minute conversation with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson drew more than 74 million views, according to statistics on the platform formerly known as Twitter.

It is unclear, however, how long visitors to the site watched the pre-recorded event. X view counts include anyone who scrolled past the video or watched for just a few seconds, as well as those who viewed the entire interview. Some viewers could be counted twice if they watched the video at different times or on different devices.

Carlson posted the interview just minutes before the debate began on Fox on Wednesday evening.

“We’ll get bigger ratings using this crazy forum that you are using than probably the debate,” Trump, who has sparred with Fox News over what he has called unflattering coverage, told Carlson.

Data on how many people watched the debate on Fox is expected to be released on Thursday.

Trump, who lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden, is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Carlson is seeking to rebuild his audience after Fox News canceled his top-rated show in April following a damaging defamation lawsuit over false claims of election fraud.

He has been releasing regular interviews on X since June.

“I think it was a terrible move getting rid of you,” Trump told Carlson.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Andy Sullivan)