Froma Harrop: Trump’s lousy numbers spell doom
Thing about Donald Trump is he doesn’t have the numbers. That became apparent starting on Election Day, when he trailed Hillary Clinton, a flawed candidate, by 3 million votes. And that was a high point. Ever since then, except for a few blips, Trump’s numbers have been going down, down and down.
A Quinnipiac poll taken on Inauguration Day had 44 percent of voters disapproving of how he was handling the job, versus 36 percent approving. New presidents are usually given the benefit of the doubt. Some Trump voters argued — and Clinton voters hoped — that once Trump settled in that august office, he would act less crazy, leave policy to the experts and be tamed by the Republican leadership. None of those things has happened. Hence, a recent Quinnipiac poll shows his disapproval numbers soaring to 55 percent of voters, while the percentage approving stays stuck. Other polls report similarly grim numbers.
And that was before Trump traumatized the civilized world by announcing plans to pull America out of the Paris accord on global warming. Seven in 10 Americans — including almost half of self-identified Trump voters — favored our staying in, according to a Yale poll. Can Trump’s lousy numbers go lower? Sure.
The story of possible collusion between the Trump camp and our Russian adversaries grows more baroque by the day. His advisers’ serial lies about contacts with Russian officials were already gridlocking the brain. Now comes news of Trump’s plan to return “diplomatic” compounds in Maryland and near New York City, seized as spy centers, to their rightful Russian owners.
It’s time we learned to pronounce Vnesheconombank. VEB is a Russian state-owned bank controlled by Vladimir Putin. It’s been hurting ever since the Obama administration slapped sanctions on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine. (Our European allies, Japan, Canada and Australia did likewise.) A former State Department official recently revealed secret efforts by the incoming Trump administration to lift the sanctions. Funny that the Great Dealmaker was apparently not demanding anything in return.
Trump son-in-law/adviser Jared Kushner met with VEB’s chief during the transition, and our intelligence professionals want to know what transpire. At the time, Kushner was seeking foreign investors to prop up his troubled office tower at 666 Fifth Ave. Not that we would think ill of the president, but all this kissing up to Russia makes one suspect that Putin has the goods on the guy. Putin is clearly having a high old time humiliating Trump and, by extension, the United States. His pathetic economy may be smaller than South Korea’s, but playing America for a fool has done wonders for his numbers. Putin’s approval rating among Russians now passes 80 percent.
Whenever things get tough, Trump goes to his base for some unconditional love. And what are coal miners getting for their affection? Well, Trump ditched a bunch of environmental regulations, and in May the number of U.S. coal jobs rose by, count ’em, a measly 400.
When Trump said he was withdrawing from the Paris agreement for the sake of Pittsburgh, the mayor of Pittsburgh unhelpfully noted that 80 percent of his electorate voted for Clinton. And it wasn’t from a lack of gratitude that his constituents turned their backs on the polluter president. The renewable energy industry employs 13,000 people in Pittsburgh. By contrast, coal mining in all of Wyoming, the nation’s top coal producer, employs fewer than 7,000.
Numbers, numbers, numbers. They reflect a growing doubt that the Trump ship will ever be steadied. The question remains whether other Republicans want to go down with it. Trump and family, one assumes, are already locating the lifeboats.