New poll shows woeful international confidence in Trump

If Trump's goal was to command global respect and dramatically improve our international standing, this has to be seen as one of his most spectacular failures.
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By Steve Benen

There are a handful of strange boasts that Donald Trump repeats incessantly, but one of the president's favorites is the idea that he commands global respect and singlehandedly improved the United States' international standing. As we've discussed before, the Republican has convinced himself that we were a global laughingstock before he took office, and thanks to his awesomeness, he's turned things around.

"You know, this is a new age," he boasted at a White House event last year. "This is a very exciting time. It's very exciting time for our country. Our country is respected again all over the world, they are respecting like we haven't been respected in many, many years, I'll tell you."

Part of the problem with the president's odd boast is that global surveys in 2017 and 2018 showed that Trump had it exactly backwards: his international stature was weak and his presidency damaged the United States' reputation abroad. The other part of the problem is that the problem isn't improving. USA Today reported:

Confidence in President Donald Trump to do the right thing when it comes to world affairs remains broadly negative, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

The Washington-based Pew study, released Wednesday, found that among people it polled in 32 countries, 29% express confidence in Trump. Sixty-four percent say they lack confidence in the White House occupant.

The figures stand in marked contrast to the final years of Barack Obama's presidency, when a median of 64% expressed confidence in Trump's predecessor to direct America's role in the world in a positive manner.

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The full report from the Pew Research Center is online here, and it paints a deeply unflattering portrait of Trump's global reputation.

Among the top-line takeaways from the 32-nation survey:

* In general, foreign populations "lack confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to world affairs."

* Anti-Trump sentiments "are especially common" in western European countries that have traditionally been close U.S. allies.

* In most countries, Barack Obama enjoyed far greater support during his White House tenure than Trump had in 2019.

* It's not, strictly speaking, personal: the Pew Research Center's study found the lack of confidence in Trump was "driven in part by opposition to his policies," including opposition to the president's rejection of efforts to combat the climate crisis and his abandonment of the international nuclear agreement with Iran.

* Among prominent world leaders, Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping enjoy low international confidence, but Trump received "more negative ratings than either the Russian or Chinese leader."

* The United States' image abroad has remained relatively steady, but in most countries, favorable views of the United States were higher in the Obama era.

If Trump's goal was to command global respect and dramatically improve the country's international standing, this has to be seen as one of his most spectacular failures.

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