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Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump's recent fascination with his inaugural crowd size shouldn't be a surprise. Going back to the very height of his business career, he's always been obsessed with demonstrably proving his popularity, especially through television ratings. The problem? Historically, he hasn't been very good at interpreting them.

  1. 1986 to the United States Football League (he owned a team): Games should be moved to the fall to go head-to head with the NFL on TV!The USFL folded. From a federal appeals court in a subsequent antitrust suit against the NFL: "Courts do not exclude evidence of a victim's suicide in a murder trial."
  2. Throughout the mid-2000s to an NBC publicity exec for The Apprentice: "Number one show on television, won its time slot."The NBC exec: "I'm looking at the numbers and at that point, say season five, for example, we were number 72. I can't tell that to him. I can't say that. Maybe I should have, maybe I should have gotten Jeff Zucker involved, but he became kind of a monster when it came to these ratings."
  3. January 25, 2013 on Twitter: "President Obama's inaugural had record low ratings. What does that portend?"The ratings were completely in line with second inaugurals.
  4. January 16, 2015 to the Television Critics' Association: The Celebrity Apprentice "is the #1 show on television."It was #67.
  5. January 16, 2015 to the Television Critics Association: Actually, I meant The Celebrity Apprentice is the highest-rated show on Mondays.That was Mike and Molly.
  6. July 29, 2016 on Twitter: "As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!"The first was the most watched debate in history, even up against MNF.
  7. July 30, 2016 on Twitter: "Nielson Media Research final numbers on ACCEPTANCE SPEECH: TRUMP 32.2 MILLION. CLINTON 27.8 MILLION. Thank you!"It's Nielsen. And the real numbers? Trump: 34.9m. Clinton 33.7m.
  8. November 27, 2016 on Twitter: "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally"He lost the popular vote by 2,864,903 votes. There is no evidence of any illegal votes.
  9. January 21, 2017: Trump sends Sean Spicer out to say that he had "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period."That briefing spawned "alternative facts."
  10. January 22, 2017 on Twitter: "Wow, television ratings just out: 31 million people watched the Inauguration, 11 million more than the very good ratings from 4 years ago!"Technically correct, but Obama got 37.7 million viewers for his first inauguration in 2009.

Go deeper

Birx: Trump White House could have reduced COVID deaths by 30 to 40%

Deborah Birx, then-coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a news conference in the White House last November. Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator under former President Trump, told a House subcommittee this month that the Trump administration could have prevented tens of thousands of deaths during the early stages of the pandemic.

Driving the news: "I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining ... and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30% less to 40% less range," Birx said in closed-door testimony to the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, according to excerpts provided by the panel.

Study: Fear of debt keeps Latinos out of college

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fear of never being able to pay off school loans is keeping many young Latinos in the U.S. from going to college or completing a degree, according to a report published in September.

State of play: Latinos tend to have more difficulty repaying school debt than white student borrowers, according to Federal Reserve data, at the same time that they need more loans in order to afford tuition.

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Biden administration objects to Israeli settlements plan

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (L) meets with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has privately protested to the Israeli government over its plan to approve the planning and construction of more than 3,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: The approvals for new homes in the settlements will be the first since President Biden assumed office, and come after Biden and his top aides personally pressed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to restrain settlement activity and decrease the number of new housing units.