US voters turn on Trump as negative rating hits a high


Political football: US President Donald Trump receives a football from Russian President Vladimir Putin at the now infamous meeting. Photo: Reuters
Political football: US President Donald Trump receives a football from Russian President Vladimir Putin at the now infamous meeting. Photo: Reuters

US President Donald Trump’s disapproval rating has hit a high point of 60pc, according to a poll.

The ‘Washington Post’-ABC News poll also finds that a clear majority of Americans support special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and say the president should not fire attorney general Jeff Sessions.

With the campaign for the crucial midterm elections in its early stages, a majority of the public has turned against Mr Trump and is on guard against his efforts to influence Mr Sessions’s Justice Department and Mr Mueller’s probe.

Nearly half of Americans, 49pc, say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings that could lead to the president being removed from office, while 46pc say it should not.

A narrow majority – 53pc – say Mr Trump has tried to interfere with the Mueller inquiry in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice, while 35pc say they do not think he has tried to interfere.

Overall, 60pc of Americans disapprove of Mr Trump’s job performance, with 36pc in favour, according to the poll. This is only a slight shift from the last Post-ABC survey, in April, which measured his rating at 56pc disapproval and 40pc approval. The poll was conducted last week, after Mr Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of fraud.

On the same day in another courtroom, his former lawyer Michael Cohen implicated the president in illegal payments to silence women who alleged sexual encounters with Mr Trump.

Other public polls have shown Mr Trump’s disapproval rating in the low- to mid-50s and have not tracked a rise since the Manafort conviction and Cohen’s guilty pleas.

Mr Trump has tried to rally support for Republican candidates in the November 6 midterm elections by pointing to his economic record.

This week’s poll finds he gets better ratings when it comes to the economy – 45pc approval and 47pc disapproval.

Mr Trump’s overall popularity breaks down along lines of partisanship, ethnicity and gender, according to the poll.

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While 78pc of Republicans approve of his performance, 93pc of Democrats and 59pc of independents disapprove.

More men support him than women, and while 45pc of whites back him, only 19pc of non-whites approve.

The poll also highlights clear limitations to Mr Trump’s efforts to politicise and discredit the Russia investigation.

Mr Trump has fired a barrage of tweets calling it a “witch hunt” and attacking the credibility of Mr Mueller and several current and former Justice Department officials.

But 63pc of Americans support Mr Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, with 52pc saying they support it strongly and 29pc opposing the probe.

Opinions on Mr Mueller’s work also break down on partisan lines, with 61pc of Republican supporters opposing the probe but 85pc of Democrats giving support. Two-thirds of independents back it.

Mr Trump has complained that Manafort has been treated unfairly by prosecutors on Mr Mueller’s team.

But 67pc of Americans think Mr Mueller’s case against Manafort was justified, while 17pc say it was unjustified, according to the poll.

Mr Trump’s praise and expressions of sympathy for Manafort have stirred speculation that he might pardon his former campaign chairman.

But the poll finds that move would be a political land mine for the president. Two-thirds of Americans oppose a pardon, 53pc strongly.

Meanwhile, as America’s political leaders paid their respects to Senator John McCain in Washington yesterday, Mr Trump was travelling to one of his golf clubs for a campaign fundraiser.

In a week of events marking the Arizona senator’s death, the president will be entirely absent, a reflection of the animosity between the two men.

Today, former presidents Barack Obama, who defeated Mr McCain in his 2008 presidential run, and George W Bush will pay tribute to Mr McCain in a service in Washington.

While sitting presidents traditionally “serve as a source of solace and comfort” for the US at times of loss and tragedy, the Trump-McCain relationship left little room for that.

In 2015, Mr McCain accused Mr Trump of using rhetoric on immigration with the aim of “firing up the crazies”.

Mr Trump, who got five deferments from the Vietnam draft, retaliated with a jibe at Mr McCain’s years as a POW there.

He said: “He was a war hero because he was captured.

“I like people who weren’t captured.”

More recently, Mr McCain accused Mr Trump of kowtowing to Vladimir Putin at a July summit in Helsinki. He called it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

After Mr McCain died, Mr Trump delayed issuing any statement and at one point, the US flag at the White House that had been at half-staff was raised back up, then lowered again after protests from Congress and veterans.

Mr McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, was involved in planning the events around his funeral.

He made it clear that the speakers he wanted included Mr Obama and his former vice-president Joe Biden, but Mr Trump was not welcome.

Irish Independent

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