President Trump delivered another victory lap to wrap up his first year in office on Sunday night in an “I’m Doing Great” speech that used mostly boilerplate domestic and foreign policy talking points and ended with the inevitable allusion to his detractors.
He closed by saying “only time will tell” what the future holds for him, before getting into a more typical critique of the news media, accusing them of making up stories about him.
“They’re just trying to make up stories in order to make me look as bad as possible and I think that’s a sad thing,” Mr. Trump said. “As I said before, I would have liked to have a much smaller inauguration but I didn’t need that many people.”
Later in the address, Mr. Trump called his first year as president “an amazing year for America.”
The president’s comments about his presidency were unlikely to significantly upset the standing of his approval rating, which has sunk to a new low in the RealClearPolitics average of public opinion surveys and stands at 37 percent, a level that has been tracked for more than a year.
Ahead of the release of the CBS/NYT poll, Mr. Trump alluded to the Washington Post’s reporting of unusually high polling numbers, saying the Post reporter “is great,” but suggesting his own numbers would rival them.
The final presidential debate on Sunday night, in the town hall-style format, had 56 million viewers, placing it behind the first, second and third presidential debates of the campaign.
The viewership for the final presidential debate between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton was the lowest in a contest for the White House since 2008, and marked the first time a modern presidential debate was less than 60 million viewers.
In 2008, the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain was watched by 61 million people, and before that, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama went head-to-head in the first presidential debate of 2008, 67 million people tuned in.
The ratings for the final presidential debate also were lower than recent events on cable television, including the second presidential debate in October 2016. In that debate, more than 70 million people watched, almost all of them on CNN and Fox News Channel.
The CNN debate between presidential candidates Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt, and the C-SPAN debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore, both aired more than twice as many viewers in the closing stretch of the 2000 campaign. In the 2016 election, though, with many fewer presidential debates, the candidates themselves were in some ways louder and more aggressive than in previous elections.
The low viewership also underscored a larger point: Mr. Trump’s approval ratings, in particular, continue to remain static. The reality of governing is bumpier than the image his supporters have of him. In an opinion survey that came out Sunday morning, Quinnipiac found that Mr. Trump, who faces a Democrat in the 2020 election, had the backing of just 33 percent of registered voters.