President Trump

On 9/11/17, Gallup found that 37% of Americans approve of his job performance and 58% disapprove.

Below are the President’s job ratings as found by Gallup on the first of each month and the 15th of the month for the three most recent months. (All voters)

Date Approval Disapproval
9/11/17 37% 58%
9/1/17 34% 61%
8/15/17 36% 58%
8/1/17 36% 60%
7/15/17 38% 56%
7/1/17 37% 57%
6/15/17 38% 57%
6/1/17 39% 55%
5/15/17 38% 57%
5/1/17 41% 55%
4/1/17 38% 57%
3/1/17 43% 51%
2/1/17 43% 52%

The following are some additional looks at the president’s job performance. (The numbers below are of registered voters unless followed by an “A” which means all voters.) [QUPIAC – Quinnipiac]

In June 2016, Nate Silver of published an analysis of 99 polling firms in which he analyzed at least 10 separate surveys and graded them from A to F. The following are the grades given to each of the polls below: NBC/WSJ: A-; WP/ABC: A+; CNN/ORC: B+; NYT/CBS: B+; FOX: A-; Quinnipiac: A-; Gallup: B.

AUG 40/55A 39/58 540/56cnnA 36/58cbsA 41/55 35/59
JULY xxx 36/58A xxx xxx 41/53 xxx
JUNE 40/56 xxx xxx 36/57 cbs 44/50 40/55
MAY 39/54 xxx xxx xxx 40/53 37/55
APR 40/54 42/53 44/54 43/49 cbs xxx 35/57
MAR xxx xxx 45/52 40/52 cbs 43/51 37/56
FEB 44/48 xxx xxx 39/51 cbs 48/47 38/55
JAN xxx xxx 44/53 40/48 cbs xxx 36/44

The following are job approval numbers from Gallup for the last nine presidents and Trump from the same time period. As you will see, Trump’s job approval rating by the public at large is the worst of any president at this point in their tenure going back to Bill Clinton.

Job Approval – Roughly eight months into 1st term

G.W. Bush 80% (9/01)
Kennedy 79% (9/61)
George HW Bush 73% (9/89)
Eisenhower 61% (9/53)
Nixon 60% (9/69)
Carter 54% (9/77)
Reagan 52% (8/81)
Obama 46% (9/09)
Clinton 46% (9/93)
Trump 34% (9/17)

On the economy Trump has an approval rating of 45% and a disapproval rating of 49%. On foreign policy he has an approval rating of 38% and a disapproval rating of 58%. [Quinnipiac, 8/17-22/17]

About President Trump

I don’t know whether Donald Trump is a racist, bigot, Anti-Semite, misogynist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Klan supporter, or any other type of extremist.

However, giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he is not any of those things does not mean that he hasn’t emboldened, enabled, and promoted those who are. [WW]

Former Vice President Walter Mondale was interviewed recently by the Minnesota Post. The following are limited excerpts of what Mondale had to say about President Trump.

“A leader has to be held responsible for the result of what he says. The results of what he’s been saying is that our whole nation believes that he was supporting white extremism. [He] didn’t have anything bad to say about Nazis. That sort of thing. If he didn’t mean it, he should have corrected it in a way that makes it clear what he means. But that is not what happened.

“[Trump] has an appalling record for using lies or near lies to draw outrageous conclusions and that’s what he did there. We can’t accept that. This nation has to be based on truth and facts. And our public officers have got to be measured against a standard of what’s necessary for a healthy America….

“Every previous president I’ve known had had the qualities of intelligence, curiosity, ability to speak clearly and be understood. And adherence to truthfulness.

“Sure, sometimes they wiggle on the edges [of truthfulness], but over these years, we expected to hear the facts from our presidents, even if we might disagree with how they interpret them…”

“If we ever break that fundamental commitment, so that dishonesty and the rest are acceptable. I really worry about where we go next.

“We have a president who doesn’t care about the facts. That’s new and very dangerous. Shocking I would say. “

(To read the entirety of the Mondale interview, go to:

Trump does not hesitate to insult law enforcement or express his disrespect for the federal judicial system.

Historian Douglas Brinkley wrote an article in the Washington Post entitled “What it takes to stand up to bigotry.” He included the following paragraph:

“By slapping Maddox down, Carter demonstrated how a true leader deals with hatemongers: crush them and render them powerless. That takes strength, something Trump doesn’t have. Carter didn’t kowtow to racists and he wouldn’t play dog-whistle games for their support. If Trump had an iota of Carter’s moral rectitude and personal strength, America wouldn’t be gasping today, whistling unhappily a very old tune.”

When President Trump visited Pope Francis in May, one person was conspicuously absent from their meeting. Sean Spicer, the then White House Press
Secretary and devoted catholic, was not included even though he had expected to be. Three White House staffers of lesser stature were included in the meeting along with the President’s family.

Apparently the President was ticked at Spicer at the time for one reason or another. Spicer’s exclusion was noted by many in the media. He apparently let his colleagues know how he felt about being excluded.

Now that Spicer is no longer in the White House, he and his family were able to get an audience with the Pope on a subsequent visit to the Vatican.

Notably, the Pope’s countenance in the Spicer meeting is much friendlier than in the meeting with the President. [WW]

In business, his personal life, his campaign and now his presidency, Trump has sprung surprises on his allies with gusto. His dealings are frequently defined by freewheeling spontaneity, impulsive decisions and a desire to keep everyone guessing – especially those who assume they can control him.

Trump also repeatedly demonstrates that, while he demands absolute loyalty from others, he is ultimately loyal to no one but himself. [Ashley Parker and Phillip Rucker, Washington Post, 9/10/17]

In a mid-August Quinnipiac University poll respondents said the following:

59% think Trump has encouraged white-supremacist groups.

65% think the level of hatred and prejudice in the U.S. has increased since Trump’s election.

62% think he is doing more to divide than unite the country.

62% think he doesn’t provide the U.S. with moral leadership.

Trump continues to say things that simply are not true. Does he know that what he says is not true?

One of the most recent examples of Trump’s statements differing from the truth has to do with the impact of the federal estate tax on family farmers. Trump said, “We are not going to allow the death tax or the inheritance tax or whatever- you-want-to-call-it to crush the American dream.”

According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2016, 0.4 percent or 153 farms out of 38,328 farm estates actually paid any estate tax. [Washington Post, 9/8/17]


President Trump and his administration have not accomplished much legislatively other than nominating and installing a Supreme Court Justice, which has considerable importance.

However, when it comes to taking actions to “disassemble” existing or pending rules or policies, he and his administration are having considerable success.

According to Charlie Cook, of the Cook Political Report, the administration has achieved enactment of 14 public laws under the 1996 Congressional Review Act solely for the purpose of overturning rules adopted by the Obama administration. “Before this year, in fact only one regulation had ever been undone via the procedure specified in that law.”

[The Congressional Review Act, enacted in 1996, establishes special congressional procedures for disapproving a broad range of regulatory rules issued by federal agencies. Before any rule covered by the Act can take effect, the federal agency that promulgates the rule must submit it to Congress. If Congress passes a joint resolution disapproving the rule, and the resolution becomes law, the rule cannot take effect or continue in effect. Also, the agency may not reissue either that rule or any substantially similar one, except under authority of a subsequently enacted law. There is a 60 day period after the rule is submitted to Congress in which action must be taken.]

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced plans, “to scrap an Obama-era civil rights policy that pushed colleges to take a harder line against campus sexual assault.”

The Obama administration official who signed the 2011 letter that announced the enhanced policy said that the DeVos position “threatens to take us back to a system that disempowers and silences survivors of sexual violence, making our institutions of higher education less safe for all our students.”

Advocates for accused students hailed the change, arguing that the Obama guidelines “destroy the lives of wrongfully accused male students.” [Washington Post, 9/8/17]

In fairness, the jury is out on this review and possible change of the rules for handling sexual assault in schools.

In her column in the Washington Post on September 8th, Ruth Marcus had this to say, in part:

“And yet it is also true that the current regime under which campus sexual-assault allegations are investigated and adjudicated is seriously flawed…

“Which is how I find myself in the unexpected position of writing not to lambaste DeVos but to praise her, albeit tentatively and preliminarily, for announcing plans to reword the department’s approach to Title IX, the federal law prohibiting gender discrimination at education institutions.”

At various times over a number of years before and during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump at least gave the impression that he was modestly sympathetic to gay rights. At one point he supported amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. He noted at one point that if he became president sexual orientation would not be considered in hiring for his administration. He in fact stated at one point that his administration would be great for the LGBT community.

The person he selected as his vice-president is notably anti-LGBT.

But at the same time he was saying a number of things that suggest he was less than sympathetic including saying he would consider appointing Supreme Court Justices who would overturn the rulings that legalized same-sex marriage.

Now Trump and his administration are making it clear where they stand. The Department of Justice has filed a brief in the Supreme Court on behalf of a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. He has gutted key provisions of federal rules adopted in the Obama administration that required contractors to prove they are in compliance with non-discrimination provisions as relates to LGBT people. HHS, under his appointee, has removed questions identifying LGBT people from important data collection programs which will result in certain programs receiving needed resources.

And of course most recently he banned transgender people from serving in the military although the Defense Department has six months to make a plan for carrying out his executive order.

The administration on August 29th announced “a review and immediate stay” of EEOC data collection rules adopted during the last administration requiring companies with 100 or more employees to submit data on worker pay broken down by race, ethnicity and gender. The goal was transparency.

The Trump OMB decided that the rule placed too great a burden on business.

Today on average women earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. The gap varies from state to state. For example, in New Mexico and North Carolina the gap is 10-15% but in Louisiana and Wyoming it is 31-35%.

For Asian women the gap is 84%, for white women it is 75%, for black women it is 60% and for Hispanic women it is 55%.

And Ivanka Trump, who casts herself as a champion of equal pay for women, supported the decision saying, “Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results.” In fairness to her she should not be expected to take public positions that are different from the administration. [Senate Joint Economic Committee Democratic staff, 2016]

The Obama administration extended overtime pay eligibility to millions of workers by raising the threshold to more than $47,000, an increase from about

At his confirmation hearings the new Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, suggested that the new administration was looking at a lower threshold, perhaps closer to $30,000. He also suggested that there was some question whether the Secretary of Labor had the authority to make the change.

During the Obama era the DOD practice of sending excess military weapons to American police departments was ended. The equipment is best described as that typically used in warfare like grenade launchers, armored vehicles and bayonets. The Obama order has been rescinded.

The Trump administration has proposed a budget that slashes a number of departments including EPA by 31%.

The Trump Interior Department has given new life to coal mining on federal lands. It is also drawing up plans to reduce wilderness and historic areas that are now protected as national monuments.

Last but not least Trump has pardoned Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was convicted by the Obama administration of criminal and civil contempt of the federal district court. He violated a judge’s order to stop detaining Latino drivers solely because they were “suspected” of being undocumented. He told the media he was not going to change what he was doing.

This pardon by Trump came before Arpaio was sentenced and without any review by the pardon attorney in the Department of Justice.

Michael Gerson in his Washington Post column on August 28th described Arpaio’s behavior in the following way.

“Arpaio had a career of dehumanizing prisoners in his charge. His pardon sends the signal that some people are less than human. In one sense, this is perfectly consistent. Trump has employed dehumanization as a political tool from the start – of refugees, of migrants, of Muslims. By his pardon of Arpaio, he has metaphorically pardoned his own cruel and divisive approach to politics.”

The general instinct of most of the media is to find ways to be critical of Trump and his administration, even if for minor things.

The media (not all of it) made a big deal of the fact that Melania Trump was wearing stiletto heels as she walked across the White House lawn on the way to a
helicopter as she and the President headed to their first trip to Texas after the hurricane. Notably, by the time she got off the plane in Texas she was wearing tennis shoes.

What stories about what the First Lady wears add to the discourse is not at all clear to me.