Trump dis­misses low-ap­proval num­bers as ‘fake news’

Con­tin­ued protests com­pli­cate start of his pres­i­dency


Scrappy as ever, Don­ald Trump on Mon­day dis­missed polls show­ing low ap­proval rat­ings as “fake news.” But what­ever his opin­ion, ac­tive op­po­si­tion to his go-it-alone pres­i­dency ap­pears to be widen­ing.

From cor­po­rate board­rooms to the halls of Congress, Trump is fac­ing an un­prece­dented ef­fort to dis­rupt even the most ba­sic of his pres­i­den­tial func­tions. It’s an evolv­ing, largely grass-roots ef­fort that aims to fol­low Trump and his po­ten­tial sup­port­ers ev­ery­where they go — and there some early signs that it’s hav­ing an im­pact.

The Trump name alone is enough to spark out­rage.

There are plans for a mass “moon­ing” of Trump Tower in Chicago. Boy­cotts are un­der­way of com­pa­nies that sell Ivanka Trump’s cloth­ing line or advertise on NBC’s “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice,” where Trump has re­mained an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer.

Con­gres­sional of­fices are be­ing flooded with emails, so­cial me­dia mes­sages and calls jam­ming phone lines. Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers are flock­ing to town halls and lo­cal con­gres­sional of­fices, some in strongly Repub­li­can districts, to voice their op­po­si­tion to Trump’s Cabi­net picks, health care plans and refugee re­stric­tions.

The goal, say or­ga­niz­ers of some of the ef­forts, is noth­ing short of com­plete re­sis­tance. It’s a strat­egy Democrats say they learned from the suc­cess of the tea party move­ment, which stymied Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s agenda through protests, doorto-door po­lit­i­cal ac­tion cam­paigns and on­line ac­tivism.

“The les­son from the last eight years is, sadly, that im­pla­ca­ble re­sis­tance works,” said Rep. Gerry Con­nolly, D-Va. “Be­cause it’s all about your base, and I will sim­ply point out that our base is big­ger than theirs, and it’s riled up.”

Trump and some Repub­li­cans shrug it off as sore losers un­will­ing to ac­cept the re­sults of the elec­tion. The pres­i­dent’s core sup­port­ers, in states like Iowa and Wis­con­sin, ap­plaud him as a man of ac­tion, de­liv­er­ing on his cam­paign prom­ises to move quickly and shake up Wash­ing­ton.

Although re­cent polls show his ap­proval rat­ings in the 40s, a his­toric low for a new pres­i­dent, Trump re­jects the sur­veys as false.

“Any neg­a­tive polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the elec­tion. Sorry, peo­ple want bor­der se­cu­rity and ex­treme vet­ting,” he tweeted on Mon­day. “I call my own shots, largely based on an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of data, and ev­ery­one knows it.”

Trump’s base is likely to re­ward him for his ac­tions, say for­mer White House aides, who note that all pres­i­dents face op­po­si­tion and pub­lic demon­stra­tions.

“It’s only a prob­lem if it lets it stop him from do­ing what he seeks to do,” said for­mer Ge­orge W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleis­cher, who re­called a travel stop in Portland, Ore­gon, when pro­test­ers threw rocks at the pres­i­dent’s mo­tor­cade. “When it comes to pol­icy full speed ahead, the peo­ple scream­ing at you can’t be con­vinced to be for you in any case.”

But re­cent pres­i­dents never faced the kind of multi-front op­po­si­tion that Trump is now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing so early in their terms.

Last week, he can­celled a trip to the Har­ley-Davidson fac­tory in Mil­wau­kee, where lo­cal groups planned to protest his event. The White House said the protests weren’t the cause. And on Satur­day, more than 1,000 pro­test­ers beat drums, sang and chanted out­side the gates of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago re­sort, where the pres­i­dent was at­tend­ing a Red Cross ben­e­fit.

The dis­plays of pub­lic out­rage have been aimed not only at Trump but at law­mak­ers, world lead­ers and cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives who might be tempted to work with him to pass key parts of his agenda, like re­plac­ing the health care law or rewrit­ing trade agree­ments.

The White House claims to be unim­pressed by the protests. In fact, a lot of the demon­stra­tors are sim­ply paid to show up and shout, says Trump Press Sec­re­tary Sean Spicer. But that’s just a fantasy, foes say.


U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump gesture from the top of the steps of Air Force One at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., Mon­day.

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