At yesterday’s White House press briefing, a reporter asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to clarify what, exactly, Donald Trump said at last week’s meeting when he reportedly referred to “shithole countries.” She conceded she wasn’t in the room during the infamous discussion, though Sanders nevertheless bragged about the president not being “politically correct.”
Sanders added, “I think that’s one of the reasons the American people love him.”
The American people do not, in fact, love him.
This is a record not to be coveted: Donald Trump is wrapping up a year in office with the lowest average approval rating of any elected president in his first year.
That’s according to polling by Gallup, which shows that Trump has averaged just a 39 percent approval rating since his inauguration. The previous low was held by Bill Clinton, whose first-year average stood 10 points higher than Trump’s, at 49 percent.
The White House press secretary apparently isn’t the only one who’s confused about this. The president has also apparently convinced himself that he’s wildly popular, boasting at a Jan. 6 press conference, “Hard to believe, my poll numbers have gone way up.” In reality, it’s “hard to believe” because it’s not true: going from 37% to 39% is not “way up.”
And yet, Trump seems determined to keep the charade going, even suggesting a few weeks ago that his support is effectively the same as Barack Obama’s at this point in the Democrat’s presidency – despite the fact that this isn’t even close to being true.
This week, however, the president took this line a bit further, boasting that his approval rating among African Americans has “doubled,” which he sees as proof of … something.
At least at first, I thought the claim might have been technically true, but misleading. If, for example, Trump’s approval rating among African Americans had gone from 2% to 4%, it would be evidence of the original figure literally doubling, but it wouldn’t be worth bragging about.
But as it turns out, the underlying claim, which the president apparently received from conservative media, isn’t true: “Survey Monkey’s results, provided to The New York Times, show that Mr. Trump’s approval ratings among black Americans actually declined from 20 percent in February 2017, his first full month in office, to 15 percent in December. (This is consistent with polling from the Pew Research Center and Reuters.)”
The Washington Post had a related piece, explaining how conservative media manipulated the data in misleading ways.
At least at this point, Trump is not a popular president. The sooner Trump World and its allies recognize this reality, the sooner they can consider changes that might improve his woeful standing.