This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
(Eds: This story has been updated)
President Donald Trump's interview with Tucker Carlson prerecorded and released Wednesday night just as the first GOP primary debate was airing, is being called a "blockbuster" and its traffic blew through the 200 million mark and was approaching a quarter of a billion at the close of day Thursday.
It is the Daily Mail that pointed out Trump was celebrating the "blockbuster" event, and a little more than 15 hours after being released, the official Twitter count for views was at 194.1 million. Meanwhile, the GOP debate was assessed to have 12 million watchers.
Explained the Daily Mail, "The former president boasted about the success of the broadcast in a post to Truth Social Thursday morning: 'The Tucker Carlson Interview with me was a BLOCKBUSTER. Could hit 200,000,000 Views, and more! Thank you! I hope it was enjoyed by everyone.'"
Trump's detractors immediately pointed out that the metrics on the social media program count those who watched only a little of the video, however.
Even so, "The viewing figures are almost certain to eclipse the number of Americans who tuned into Fox to watch Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and the rest of the GOP field go to battle to try and close the gap with the frontrunner," the report explained.
Several assessments after the fact suggested that Vivek Ramaswamy turned in the best performance on the debate stage, and others were divided on whether Trump, the far-and-away frontrunner for the GOP nomination, or Ramaswamy, was the "REAL" winner.
Carlson asked Trump whether the U.S. is heading toward a civil war, and Trump noted, "There's tremendous passion and there's tremendous love. You know, January 6 was a very interesting day because – they don't report it properly. I believe it was the largest crowd I've ever spoken before and you know, some of the crowds I've spoken before – I think that the biggest crowd I've ever spoken before was on January 6."
He added, "There's a level of passion that I've never seen. There's a level of hatred that I've never seen. That's probably a bad combination."
Trump said he didn’t do the debate so as not to be harassed by those candidates who should not be running.
"But you see, the polls have come out and I'm leading by 50 and 60 points. And you know, some of them are at one and zero and two. And I'm saying, "Do I sit there for an hour or two hours, whatever it's going to be, and get harassed by people that shouldn't even be running for president? Should I be doing that?"' Trump told Carlson.