Monday 21 August 2017

Trump's rating now worst of any president

President Donald Trump kisses Norwegian golfer Suzann Pettersen at the US Women’s Open tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Photo: Reuters
President Donald Trump kisses Norwegian golfer Suzann Pettersen at the US Women’s Open tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Photo: Reuters

Chris Baynes

Donald Trump has insisted his performance in a poll assessing his six-month approval rating is "not bad" - despite recording the lowest rating of any president since it started being conducted in the 1940s.

Just 36pc of Americans endorsed his job performance, down from another record low of 42pc at the 100-day mark, in a joint survey by 'The Washington Post' and ABC News.

Some 58pc disapproved of his first six months, most of them "strongly".

The previous worst approval rating after half a year in the White House was 39pc, given to Gerald Ford in 1975.

Mr Trump's deterioration in support comes amid questions over his election campaign's links to Russia, doubts over his ability to negotiate on a world stage, and unpopular policies at home.

And 48pc of people think the US's place as a global leader has weakened under Mr Trump, compared to 27pc who say it has strengthened, the poll found.

Eric Trump waves as he heads into his father’s presidential suite at the club
Eric Trump waves as he heads into his father’s presidential suite at the club

Some 63pc of Americans felt a meeting between the president's son Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton was "inappropriate". Only 26pc of those surveyed said it was appropriate.

However, Mr Trump took to Twitter to denigrate the poll, saying it had been "just about the most inaccurate" during the election last year. He defended his "almost 40pc" rating as " not bad at this time".

Earlier, Mr Trump claimed his son had been "scorned by the Fake News Media". "With all of its phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting, #Fake News is distorting democracy in our country," he wrote. His latest attack on the media came hours after the poll results emerged, although he did not refer to them.

The survey, carried out for each US president since Harry S Truman, found only a third of Americans trusted Mr Trump to negotiate on the world stage.

And 47pc said they had no trust in him, despite the billionaire businessman's boasts about his deal-making.

Mr Trump's healthcare plans were also unpopular, with less than a quarter of those surveyed preferring the Republican bill to existing laws.

Mr Trump's 36pc overall approval rating is a long way behind his predecessor's score after six months, as 59pc of Americans felt Barack Obama was doing a good job after half a year in the White House. The Democrat's all-time lowest rating was 40pc, which came after years in the White House.

Mr Trump's tenure has been dogged by controversy, with the latest furore centred on Donald Jr's meeting with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Meanwhile, one of President Trump's personal lawyers defended the meeting, suggesting it had been screened by the Secret Service.

"Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in.

"The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me," said Jay Sekulow, a member of Mr Trump's legal team on the ABC show 'This Week'.

However, Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman said the younger Trump was not under Secret Service protection at the time of the June 2016 meeting that included Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Republican election campaign chief Paul Manafort. (© Independent News Service)

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