Trump back on of­fen­sive af­ter brief respite in Paris

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, fresh from a po­lit­i­cal hol­i­day in Paris, went back on the of­fen­sive Sun­day as a new poll showed his pop­u­lar­ity drop­ping amid doubts about Rus­sian elec­tion med­dling and deep­en­ing frus­tra­tions over stalled health care leg­is­la­tion. In an early morn­ing tweet, Trump used some of his tough­est lan­guage against a fa­vored tar­get, the press, say­ing: “With all of its phony un­named sources & highly slanted & even fraud­u­lent re­port­ing, #Fake News is DISTORTING DEMOC­RACY in our coun­try!”

Trump also sent one of his pri­vate lawyers, Jay Seku­low, onto five Sun­day talk shows to ar­gue that there was noth­ing il­le­gal about his el­dest son Don­ald Trump Jr.’s meet­ing last year with a Rus­sian at­tor­ney fol­low­ing a prom­ise of dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion on Demo­cratic ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton. “What took place at the meet­ing... is not a vi­o­la­tion of any law, statute or code,” Seku­low told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He re­peated an ear­lier as­ser­tion that Trump is not the sub­ject of any cur­rent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged Rus­sian ef­forts to tilt last year’s elec­tion in the Repub­li­can’s fa­vor.

The con­certed push­back came as a Wash­ing­ton Post-ABC News poll near the six­month point in Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion showed him fac­ing sig­nif­i­cantly de­clin­ing ap­proval rat­ings, down from 42 per­cent in April to 36 per­cent to­day. Sim­i­larly, the pres­i­dent’s dis­ap­proval rat­ing has jumped five points to 58 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey of 1,001 adults.

Trump re­sponded to the poll in a tweet, say­ing: “The ABC/Wash­ing­ton Post Poll, even though al­most 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most in­ac­cu­rate poll around elec­tion time!” Nearly half of re­spon­dents — 48 per­cent-said they “dis­ap­prove strongly” of the pres­i­dent’s per­for­mance in of­fice, a low level never reached by ex-pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton or Barack Obama, both Democrats, and reached only once by George W. Bush, dur­ing his sec­ond term.

And 48 per­cent said they saw Amer­i­can global lead­er­ship weak­en­ing since Trump en­tered the White House, while 27 per­cent said it is stronger.

That would seem to show mixed re­sults, at best, from a se­ries of high-pro­file for­eign vis­its by Trump, in­clud­ing to Saudi Ara­bia and to a Group of 20 meet­ing in Ger­many, where he met with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. Trump’s Bastille Day visit to Paris came a day af­ter the poll ended. Two thirds of re­spon­dents said they do not trust Trump, or trust him only some­what, in ne­go­ti­at­ing with for­eign lead­ers. — AFP

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