This week’s White House Report Card finds President Trump still sitting in a decent polling position, at 47 percent approval in the latest Zogby Analytics poll
John Zogby decried the president’s reaction to the bombing threats by a supporter, and Jed Babbin noted several international wins, one especially helpful for U.S. natural gas producers.
I try to steer these report cards away from my personal bias and ideology and try to look simply at achievement and merit. So President Trump's approval numbers are up -- 46 percent for polling just this week, 47 percent in my son's Zogby Analytics poll. With this rise, the Republicans' opportunity to limit a Democratic advantage in the House elections have gone up.
GOP voters are almost as enthusiastic as the Democrats and half of the real competitive races for the House are simply still too close to project. Trump continues to hold big rallies in arenas, generate enthusiasm, and enhance the potential for the candidates he stumps for.
But I have to dock him one whole letter grade for his lack of dignity, grace, or healing leadership in the wake of news of the bombs that were mailed or delivered to his critics. He was crass, mocking, frankly demagogic in his response. (By the way, the Democrats were equally awful, but this is the president's report card.)
President Trump had a very busy week with some significant wins on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a move by Germany’s Angela Merkel to reduce consumption of Russian natural gas and sanctions against Saudi individuals believed to have participated in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
National Security Advisor John Bolton visited Moscow to deliver to Russian President Putin the message that the U.S. was giving notice that we would withdraw from the 1987 INF Treaty because of Russia’s blatant violation of it. NATO nation’s intelligence communities agree that Russia’s “Novator” ground-launched cruise missile has a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles, precisely the range of missiles banned by the INF Treaty. Trump’s withdrawal won’t, as critics say, create a new arms race. If one begins, it will be because of Russia’s fielding the Novator and China’s fielding of a whole family of missiles of similar range. We can respond to each in a variety of ways and shouldn’t be handcuffed to the INF Treaty in formulating our response.
Trump Thunders at Media for Smearing His Supporters after Bomb Scares https://t.co/Ggdhs9reY3 via @BreitbartNews— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2018
Merkel’s announcement that her government is backing the construction of a shipping depot for imports of U.S. natural gas is another big win for the president. Merkel is complying with Trump’s demand that Germany reduce its energy dependence on Russia.
All in all, it was a good international week for Trump and for Putin, not so much.
U.S. ships transited the Taiwan Strait, angering the Chinese but demonstrating the U.S. commitment to both Taiwan and freedom of navigation. The move was similar to U.S. flights in the South China Sea that come near China’s newly-constructed and armed islands.
The Saudis have accused about 20 people of plotting or participating in the Khashoggi murder. US sanctions on most of these individuals are symbolic.
The big challenge coming Trump’s way is the mob of Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans coming up through Mexico to challenge our borders. The president has warned that they should go home rather than come here. Defense Secretary Mattis has ordered about 800 active duty troops to the border to join the 2,000 national guard troops already there. They probably won’t have any effect on the sanctuary-seekers. The mob will probably arrive around Election Day. If it’s on or before that day, what happens at the border may well affect the midterm elections.
On the domestic front, the Trump administration has proposed a revision to the definition of sexuality under Title 9 of the Civil Rights Act to say that sexuality is determined at or before birth by the genitalia a person is born with. That would eliminate the transgender people from the definition. That sounds like perfect common sense, but the LGBTQ community is up in arms over the possible change.
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