The open Democrat-led House impeachment inquiry into whether President Donald Trump improperly sought a “quid pro quo” from Ukraine is not resonating with the vast majority of Americans, based on new television viewership statistics.
Only about 10 million people in a country of 330 million have tuned it at all this week after hearings began again on Tuesday, the Washington Times reported.
Cable news channels have been hyping the hearings as something very important that Americans should be paying attention to, but that hasn’t helped spur interest based on the poor television ratings numbers.
“It’s on constantly but I’m not paying any attention to it,” said Emily Brown, a waitress at Mandy’s, a popular breakfast and lunch spot near New Orleans.
“I’m not really watching it during the day. I’ll look online at night just to see what happened,” said 47-year-old Jeremy, an Omaha dog groomer, the Times reported.
Tuesday’s morning session averaged 11.4 million viewers across the three big cable news stations and ABC, CBS and NBC. The afternoon session averaged 13 million viewers, the paper reported.
Those were similar to the 12.7 million viewers Friday’s hearings drew on average — down from the 13.1 million posted on Nov. 13, the first day of public hearings.
The impeachment inquiry stems from claims made by Democrats that President Trump improperly threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine unless that country publicly agreed to open an investigation into 2016 election meddling on behalf of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Democrats also claim Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate possible corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential contender, and his son Hunter Biden, who was employed at the time as a board member by a Ukrainian company under investigation by the country’s prosecutor general.
The Trump administration delivered lethal military aid to Ukraine, as planned, and President Volodymyr Zelensky has never announced an investigation into the Bidens or 2016 election interference.
On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland testified that President Trump specifically told him earlier this year he “didn’t want anything” from Ukraine — “no quid pro quo.”