Washington, Mar 21: Donald Trump is only two months in and his approval rating has fallen to a new low, according to the latest Gallup poll.
The President’s approval has dropped three points this weekend to 37 per cent, the lowest point since Mr Trump stepped into the White House.
Other presidents have suffered even lower ratings during their time in office, but this is the first time in at least 70 years that any president dipped to this point by March of their first term, according to Gallup.
Gallup’s findings come shortly before the Congressional hearing on Russia and whether the country interfered in the 2016 election to give the Republican candidate a boost. Both parties have flatly denied the allegations.
The record low for Mr Trump also comes a day before FBI Director James Comey is expected to throw cold water on his claims, based on reports from RT Today and Fox News, that former President Barack Obama and the UK illegally wiretapped Trump Tower before the election.
The Gallup numbers, based on a three-day rolling average, have been released the same weekend that the President finishes his tenth golf trip since his inauguration – more than his predecessor, whom he accused of golfing too much.
Mr Trump also questioned why Mr Obama had a “record low” Gallup approval rating of 39 per cent in August 2011 – a low bar that Mr Trump has now surpassed. The poll calculates approval ratings by surveying around 1,500 American adults on the telephone, and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
The business tycoon-turned-politician entered office on 20 January with an approval rating of around 45 per cent, but it had dipped to 38 per cent less than one month later.
In the first weeks of his term, he has attacked intelligence agencies and the media for being “dishonest” and peddling “fake news”. Several of his executive orders to ban travellers from at least six Muslim-majority countries were struck down by federal judges who called the orders “unconstitutional”.
The next big project is to repeal and replace Obamacare, a 2010 Act that provided healthcare insurance for an additional 20 million low-income Americans. The new, 60-page healthcare plan dedicates six pages to knocking lottery winners off Medicaid but offers no other concrete or large-scale way to save costs. Medicaid, on which many Trump supporters rely, is set to be capped at a state level from 2020.
Also in his first two months, the President has accused protesters of being paid by billionaire George Soros, and has appeared unenthusiastic about addressing racism and anti-Semitism. When questioned on the growing number of anti-Semitic bomb threats and vandalism at a press conference by a Jewish reporter, he told the journalist to sit down and instead talked about his election victory.
International diplomatic relations have also come under scrutiny: he reportedly had a terse call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled his trip to Washington DC after Mr Trump said Mexico would foot the billion-dollar bill to pay for the wall along the US-Mexican border.
The latest controversy was when Mr Trump apparently ignored German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s request to shake his hand in front of the cameras in the Oval Office on Friday, an awkward moment during a normally highly scripted photo-op.
His spokesman Sean Spicer said he believed Mr Trump “hadn’t heard” Ms Merkel’s question, and Mr Trump called the negative reports about the meeting “fake news”.
After paying millions of dollars to settle a class action lawsuit for alleged fraud via his now defunct Trump University, the President faces several more legal battles.
He has been sued for defamation by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos for failing to admit that he allegedly sexually assaulted her in 2005. He denied sexual assault. Mr Trump also faces lawsuits over his Muslim ban executive order, his alleged conflicts of interest between his commercial empire and his presidential duties, and his failure to disclose his alleged debts. PTI