The primetime hearings for the Jan. 6 commission's investigation into the 2021 Capitol riot were broadcast live on almost every major station, yet failed to capture national interest and produced ratings far below other comparable national televised political events.
Almost 20 million viewers tuned in for the hearings on Thursday night, according to The Hill. By contrast, President Joe Biden's State of the Union address in March pulled in 38 million viewers. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump's first State of the Union attracted over 45 million, per the New York Post.
The 20 million figure did stand above a typical congressional hearing, The Hill noted, citing the roughly 9 million viewers for Trump's first impeachment trial.
Members of the Jan. 6 Commission have sought to present a case blaming Trump for the violence that occurred at the Capitol amid congressional efforts to certify the presidential election results. Their narrative stands in contrast to growing sentiment among the American public who increasingly do not blame the former president for the incident.
An NBC poll released Monday, showed that only 45% of Americans blamed Trump for the riot which, while still a plurality, marked a seven-point decline in that sentiment from January of 2021.
Republicans have largely denounced the hearings as a "kangaroo court" and slammed the commission's Republican members for their participation in it. Speaking on the John Solomon Reports podcast on Friday, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., denounced Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., for her role in the hearings and for her claim that he sought a pardon for his actions on Jan. 6.
"The notion that I ever sought a presidential pardon for myself, or other members of Congress, is an absolute shameless and soulless lie," he said. "It's just simply no surprise, considering this latest fabrications come from a sham committee using a breathtaking abuse of power to conjure up political theater to destroy their opponents."
"This is a kangaroo court. And it's more fitting to be aired with the filth of scripted reality TV than masquerading as a newsworthy item," he continued.