Yes, as he promised, Trump’s presidency has again reached historic levels. He is achieving things no president has ever achieved before. Indeed, none before Trump has ever accomplished what he has done this past weekend.
In Gallup’s Daily tracking poll, President Donald Trump’s job approval has reached 34%. This, for a newly elected president (can you believe it’s only been 7 months?), is a historic low, and the lowest Trump has ever been. His previous low was set in late March when he dipped to 35%. Record-setting, history-making, indeed.
Gallup mentions that Trump still claims success with his base, the hardcore Trump supporters who seem to be willing to stick with him through anything, and indeed there’s a chunk of the population who match that description. But even that is eroding slowly; the 79% approval rating of fellow Republicans he received this past week is also his lowest in that category, down from 82% previously. If looking at just this past weekend, that number is actually at 77%.
The 34% general rating was consistent over Friday and into Saturday and Sunday. It follows a week of, to use a measured term, insanity regarding a strange, unforced stand-off with North Korea in which Trump essentially threatened nuclear war against Kim Jong Un. It seems the public, perhaps even some MAGA types, don’t particularly like the prospect of an off-the-cuff nuclear exchange.
The approval rating certainly wasn’t helped by the weekend’s terrible events in Charlottesville. Or, more appropriately, Trump’s reaction to those terrible events. Trump blamed “many sides” for the murder of a woman by a neo-Nazi ramming his car into a crowd of protesters. It seems that on top of their distaste for the prospect of nuclear war, the American public also cannot abide neo-Nazi sentiments. What cucks, you might be muttering under your breath.
Trump did, however, send his “best regards” to the grieving families—the kind of message that is sure to bump up those approval numbers. Especially when a tweet a couple of days later indicates that he only made extra remarks to please the unreasonably outraged crowds, and not because he really felt them.
To be fair, 34% does not approach the all-time lows set by other presidents. The approval ratings of Truman, Nixon, and both Presidents Bush, all dipped into the 20s. However, it is the absolute lowest for this early a point in a presidency, and none of those presidents have had the advantage of the strange phenomenon that is the #MAGA crowd, with its unthinking, fanatical finger pressing on every scale. Nor has Trump been met with a single challenging test—a recession, a crisis, a major attack or natural disaster of some kind affecting the country as a whole. The usual kinds of things that test administrations and sink presidencies.
Though anything is always possible (2016 happened, after all), the chances of Trump’s approval rating rising much higher than this seem very low. This is especially true when you consider his all-time high, at 46%, occurred around the time of his inauguration, typically the time of a president’s highest popularity. It has very much been all downhill from there for Trump, and with all his chances of appearing presidential going to waste, and all the increasing pressures of the job sending him into corners of high desperation, it would be nothing less than remarkable if Trump ever found the graceful sense of stability he always lacked and currently needs to raise his approval rating back up to the honeymoon numbers. (It wouldn’t hurt for someone in the West Wing to steal his phone and drop it in a fish tank to stop all that tweeting.)
Indeed, one wonders what that approval rating will be when the next big Russia reveal drops, as it is certainly going to. Or how low it sinks when Trump is faced with his first international crisis, which, by the grace of God, has not yet occurred. While it might be satisfying to see the populace continue turning against Trump after a failure in a time of crisis, we should probably not wish more hardship and awfulness upon our nation, as necessary as it might prove to be.
So let’s all hope Bob Mueller finishes his work before that day comes.