Everyone already knows that Donald Trump is broadly reviled in the United States. His approval ratings have been at historic lows since the day he was inaugurated. The policies he advocates are opposed by most Americans. For example, the Republican health care bill to repeal ObamaCare is languishing at seventeen percent. Likewise, the people differ with Trump on issues such as immigration, climate change, taxing the wealthy, and the border wall.
Now a survey by the respected Pew Research Center reveals that Trump is just as unpopular in the rest of the world. The results are an affirmation of how counterproductive it is to have a leader who embraces our enemies and alienates our allies. Not to mention one who behaves like a bully, lies compulsively, and exhibits profound ignorance on almost any subject. The Pew study begins by saying that:
“Although he has only been in office a few months, Donald Trump’s presidency has had a major impact on how the world sees the United States. Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations. According to a new Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 nations, a median of just 22% has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs.”
That twenty-two percent contrasts with President Obama’s sixty-four percent confidence rate in the final years of his term. That’s a forty-two point decline in just five months. And it includes a period during which Trump visited Europe and the Middle East. That trip allowed foreign leaders to get to know him personally, but it doesn’t appear to have helped. In fact, it may be a primary reason for their overt animosity.
When seventy-four percent of the world has no confidence in the U.S. president to competently lead the nation, something is terribly wrong. Particularly when that view is held by nations that are among our closest allies and neighbors. The only two countries where Trump is viewed more positively than negatively were Israel (+7%) and Russia (a whopping +42%). These other nations dislike Trump for most of the same reasons Americans do. They strongly oppose his positions on immigration, trade, and climate change. But their distaste is not limited to policy matters. The survey also shows that:
“Trump’s character is also a factor in how he is viewed abroad. In the eyes of most people surveyed around the world, the White House’s new occupant is arrogant, intolerant and even dangerous. Among the positive characteristics tested, his highest rating is for being a strong leader. Fewer believe he is charismatic, well-qualified or cares about ordinary people.”
Fortunately, the world’s loathing for Trump does not rub off on the American people. Fifty-eight percent of the survey’s respondents say they have a favorable opinion of Americans. That contrasts starkly with their opinions of Trump. According to the survey, the words most often used to describe him are “arrogant (75%),” “intolerant (65%),” and “dangerous (62%).” Only twenty-six percent regard him as “well-qualified to be president.”
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These findings portend further trouble for Trump as his presidency continues to slide into chaos. Foreign affairs play a significant role in the advancement of U.S. national interests. These relationships are critical to enhancing trade and the economy, forging geopolitical alliances, and combating terrorism. Trump’s low marks make all of these matters more difficult, if not impossible, to successfully negotiate. And it’s all the more worrisome that Trump appears neither aware of, nor concerned about, his international revulsion.