This week’s White House Report Card finds President Trump riding a “winning” high despite facing a series of troubling issues including the death of a columnist in a Saudi consulate in Turkey and the rush of illegal immigrants to and across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pollster John Zogby, who gave the president a B+, said the public doesn’t seem to care about the issues facing the president, and conservative analyst Jed Babbin gave Trump a B and noted that the upcoming midterm elections will be the public’s chance to grade the president.

John Zogby
Grade B+

We all remember when candidate Donald Trump said he could actually murder someone in midtown Manhattan and it not have an impact on his popularity. Well, it looks like a Saudi journalist for the Washington Post has been murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Trump's polling numbers are up to 46 percent this week. Two polls have him at 47 percent.

Stop for one second — murder in the Saudi consulate? Driven probably by a crown prince who is a close friend and ally of the president? The president initially blames the story on fake news and says he does not want to jeopardize a massive arms deal with the kingdom, then later backtracks and says if it did happen then there will be serious punishment. And his numbers go up.

The president's chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton have a shouting match over immigration and the caravan of immigrants heading to the U.S. border. But who cares? Mr. Trump is now polling the same percentage of the vote he received in 2016 — i.e. when he won!

He once again showed the power of the presidency when a judge dismissed a defamation case against Stormy Daniels. Trump called her a “horseface,” an appalling response by any measure. But he is Donald Trump, president of the United States. She is only Stormy Daniels, a porn star. Why the two are even in the news together is a bigger question, but he wins. Again.

Jed Babbin
Grade B

President Trump had a pretty successful week in the media week and was very busy holding campaign rallies targeting vulnerable Democratic senators. Trump gave a very strong performance on CBS “60 Minutes” and at several campaign rallies.

The economy continues to roar along. The “World Economic Forum” elected the U.S. to the title of “world’s most competitive economy” for the first time in a decade.

But all was not roses.

In an event virtually ignored by the American press, the Taliban nearly assassinated Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, our four-star commander in Afghanistan, just days before the scheduled Afghan elections. Miller escaped harm in the incident in which the Taliban killed Afghan Gen. Abdul Raziq, head of the Afghan police in southern Afghanistan. Trump’s policies in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq — and his policies toward Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China — are still up in the air.

Another caravan, comprised of perhaps 4,000 refugees from El Salvador and Honduras, is driving its way to the border. Trump told Mexico that the new US-Mexico trade deal might not survive if Mexico didn’t help keep these people out. Mexico punted the mess to the U.N. and Trump said he might use the U.S. military to block the border. If he does, it’ll be an important political moment just before the midterm election.

The media was focused on the disappearance and apparent murder of journalist and political activist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudis. Trump concluded, like most of the world has, that Khashoggi was murdered. But Trump can’t give either the Saudis or the Turks the benefit of the doubt. He has to be highly suspicious of both. The Saudi regime wants the whole thing to blow over.

Trump said that he wanted 5 percent budget cuts in FY 2019 from every department other than Defense. That’s a great goal, but he needs to enforce it. Any sort of budget reduction is anathema to the entrenched bureaucracy. The president and his Cabinet members need to make it stick.

Trump — not unusually — said two highly contradictory things about the election. First, he said that if the Republicans lose the House, “don’t blame me.” A couple of days later he told supporters to pretend as if he’s on the ballot this year. As with most midterm congressional elections following a presidential election, 2018 is a referendum on the president, and if the Republicans lose either house of Congress, his will be the biggest share of the blame.

John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby

Jed Babbin is an Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin