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Rating Trump's first 500 days in office

By Zhao Huanxin in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-06-07 22:35
US President Donald Trump participates in a "celebration of America" event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, June 5, 2018.[Photo / Agencies]

This week marks 500 days since US President Donald Trump's inauguration, and his first tweet on Monday said, "This is my 500th. Day in Office and we have accomplished a lot - many believe more than any President in his first 500 days."

He continued: "Massive Tax & Regulation Cuts, Military & Vets, Lower Crime & Illegal Immigration, Stronger Borders, Judgeships, Best Economy & Jobs EVER, and much more..."

The White House also issued a slew of statements, highlighting "President Donald J. Trump's 500 Days of American Greatness", of "Making Our Communities Safer and Stronger", and of "Strengthening the American Economy".

The listing of the 500 days' top accomplishments has been met with mixed reaction - often confusing comments from the public and the media, online and offline. However, a review of some of the latest popular polls on Trump may help put the narrative into perspective.

Hours after the president's and the White House's statements on the 500th day of the Trump presidency, Sean Hannity of Fox News said Trump "proved the naysayers wrong" and it is "undeniable" that the world is seeing massive progress.

Other media and some Twitter users either compiled a list of things that Trump failed to do - like what they believe are broken promises such as the $1 trillion infrastructure plan - or chose to fact-check Trump's claims, such as that Americans are enjoying the best economy and jobs "EVER".

"His boast of record achievements on the economy and jobs ignores the Roaring Twenties, the wartime boom in the 1940s, the 1990s expansion and other times when unemployment was lower than now, economic growth was higher than now, or brisk productivity made the US the world's economic powerhouse," The Associated Press reported on Monday.

Gallup, in its latest analysis of presidential job approval, said 41 percent of Americans strongly disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president, and 26 percent strongly approve, almost exactly the same percentages as the polling agency found 15 months ago, in the first weeks of Trump's presidency.

The strong disapproval rate was one of the highest for any president in the history of the Gallup "strongly" question, which has been asked 82 times at irregular intervals, according to Gallup analysis by Jim Norman.

Within his own party, 66 percent of Republicans now strongly approve of the job Trump is doing, with only 5 percent strongly disapproving - this compared with 65 percent strongly approving in a poll conducted about a month after Trump took office, according to the poll conducted on May 14-20.

The approval ratings are updated on a weekly basis, and in the week that ended on June 3, the Republican president's approval rate remained at 41 percent, while the disapproval rate was 55 percent.

Another poll conducted by the Pew Research Center said that the number of Americans who say they agree with Trump on many or all issues has risen since last August, while a majority of Americans found little or no common ground with him on issues.

Currently, 41 percent of the public agrees with Trump on "all or nearly all" or many of the issues facing the country, while 57 percent agree with him on just a few issues or virtually none. In August, just 33 percent said they agreed with Trump on many or all issues, according to poll results released on May 3.

The survey found a narrow majority, 54 percent, say they are either very or somewhat confident that Trump will negotiate favorable trade agreements with other countries.

The Trump administration's tactics in negotiating with China and other trade partners, including allies, are sometimes perplexing to the public and pundits.

"I said two weeks ago that I was going to hold off on writing about China again until the dust settled," William Alan Reinsch, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said recently about China-US trade talks.

"Each time the United States seems to be set on a course of action, the president shifts gears and kicks the dust up all over again," he said in a commentary on Monday.

Reinsch said what US businesses most value from their government is policy consistency and clear lines. They need to have some confidence that today's rules will be the same ones they'll be expected to adhere to next week, next month, and next year.

"Sadly, we are a long way from that," he said.

Most recently, the Trump administration announced it would slap tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

On Saturday, finance ministers from the G7 - except the US - issued a rare joint statement criticizing trade practices of the Trump administration.

huanxinzhao@chinadailyusa.com

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