Donald Trump generally doesn’t know what reporters are going to ask him during occasional Q&A sessions on the White House South Lawn, and once in a while, someone will ask the president about something that isn’t necessarily dominating domestic headlines.
Take yesterday, for example.
Q: Do you have a message for Poland on the anniversary of Warsaw Uprising, which is today?
TRUMP: Well, I have a lot of respect for Poland. And, as you know, the people of Poland like me, and I like them. And I’m going to be going to Poland fairly soon.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Trump probably has no idea what the Warsaw Uprising is or why it’s so historically significant.
It’s probably why the Republican turned so quickly to his go-to move: comments about himself and his perceived popularity.
But as Trump boasted about how much the “people of Poland like” him, it got me thinking about whether that’s true or not.
As it turns out, we don’t need to guess.
Last fall, the Pew Research Center published its latest report on global attitudes, which found the United States’ international standing suffering badly following Trump’s rise to power. Across much of the world, people’s perceptions about the American presidency and the United States’ credibility have taken severe hits.
This is true of, among other countries, Poland. Towards the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, the percentage of people in Poland who said they have “a lot” or “some” confidence in the U.S. president dropped to just 29%. During Barack Obama’s presidency, the number grew considerably, reaching a peak of 64% in 2015.
And then Donald Trump took office. The number plummeted to 23% in the Republican’s first year in office, and while it improved to 35% in 2018, that’s still far below any year of the Obama era.
The same research found that most people in Poland have “no confidence” that Trump can be counted on to do the right thing regarding world affairs.
All of which brings us back to Trump’s assertions from yesterday: “[A]s you know, the people of Poland like me.”
Actually, we don’t know that, and there’s some pretty compelling evidence pointing in the opposite direction.