Trump’s pres­i­den­tial ap­proval rat­ing sinks to record low

The Guardian - - INTERNATIONAL - Oliver Laugh­land

Don­ald Trump’s ap­proval rat­ing yes­ter­day plunged to an his­toric low for a US pres­i­dent in a poll that charts Amer­i­cans’ per­cep­tions of a stalling do­mes­tic pol­icy agenda, un­pop­u­lar health­care re­form pro­pos­als and de­clin­ing lead­er­ship on the world stage.

A Wash­ing­ton Post/ABC News poll, which put Trump’s ap­proval rat­ing six months into his term at 36%, is the low­est since the first poll in 1945. It came amid mount­ing con­tro­versy over Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion. It emerged on Satur­day that Trump’s cam­paign com­mit­tee had made a pay­ment to the le­gal firm rep­re­sent­ing his son, Don­ald Trump Jr, two weeks be­fore his meet­ing with a Krem­lin-linked lawyer be­came pub­lic.

Trump, who has spent the week­end at his pri­vate golf club in Bed­min­ster, New Jersey, at­tempted to down­play the poll’s find­ings, us­ing Twit­ter to claim, in­cor­rectly, that “al­most 40% [ap­proval] is not bad at this time” and that the sur­vey had been “just about the most in­ac­cu­rate around elec­tion time!”.

Trump’s rat­ing rep­re­sents a six-point drop from the 42% af­ter his first 100 days in of­fice. The lat­est poll found 48% be­lieved Amer­ica’s lead­er­ship in the world was weaker than be­fore the bil­lion­aire took of­fice, while sup­port for Repub­li­can plans to re­place Barack Obama’s Af­ford­able Care Act was at only 24%.

The pres­i­dent clos­est to Trump’s level at or near six months was Ger­ald Ford’s 39% in Fe­bru­ary 1975.

The poll also found that 63% of peo­ple thought the June 2016 meet­ing be­tween se­nior mem­bers of Trump’s in­ner cir­cle, in­clud­ing Don­ald Jr, his son-in-law Jared Kush­ner and a group of Rus­sians, in­clud­ing the lawyer Natalia Ve­sel­nit­skaya, was in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

Trump’s per­sonal lawyer, Jay Seku­low, yes­ter­day ap­peared on all five Sun­day morn­ing US po­lit­i­cal TV talk­shows, of­fer­ing a de­fence of the meet­ing that ap­peared to blame Se­cret Ser­vice of­fi­cers work­ing at Trump Tower, where it took place, for al­low­ing the Rus­sians into the build­ing.

“I won­der why the Se­cret Ser­vice – if this was ne­far­i­ous – why the Se­cret Ser­vice al­lowed th­ese peo­ple in,” he told ABC News. “The pres­i­dent had Se­cret Ser­vice pro­tec­tion at that point, and that raised a ques­tion with me.”

Trump Jr re­leased emails last week re­veal­ing how he had ea­gerly em­braced what he was told was a Rus­sian gov­ern­ment lawyer with in­for­ma­tion that could help dam­age Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

A cam­paign fi­nance re­port filed with the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion re­vealed that Trump’s cam­paign com­mit­tee paid $50,000 (£38,000) to Trump Jr’s lawyer, Alan Futer­fas, on 27 June, 13 days be­fore the New York Times re­vealed the meet­ing had taken place.

The pres­i­dent told re­porters on Wed­nes­day he had only been made aware of the 2016 meet­ing, “two or three days ago”.

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