Trump’s presidential approval rating sinks to record low
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”.