MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The smoke has cleared from Thursday night’s televised showdown between Donald Trump and the FOX News Republican debate, which he refused to attend.

Trump had famously predicted FOX’s ratings for the night would be a disaster without him. But did it his prediction come true?

“Look at all the cameras. It’s like the Academy Awards. This is like the Academy Awards. This is the Academy Awards!” Trump said.

But FOX won the ratings, sort of. FOX had 12.5 million viewers — the second-lowest of the six debates so far.

CNN’s debate in December had 18 million. And the first FOX debate in August drew 25 million.

The Trump event drew only about 2.7 million viewers.

Trump, however, dominated on Google. Data shows Trump was the number-one candidate searched in all 50 states during the debate, even though he was not there.

Ted Cruz was the most searched “other” Republican. People wanted to know: “Why was Ted Cruz born in Canada?” And he had the top social media moment on Facebook.

“Chris, I would note that the last four questions have been, ‘Rand, please attack Ted. Marco, please attack Ted. Chris, please attack Ted. Jeb, please attack Ted,'” Cruz said during the debate. “Gosh, if you guys … ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage!”

Trump also trended on Twitter. The account Twitter Government reported that Trump was the most mentioned of all GOP candidates by far for two hours.

Trump said Friday he was “glad” he skipped the debate, and said he “won” the night.

Pat Kessler