President Trump has been accused of almost everything – from colluding with the Russians, to withholding money from Ukraine in a quid pro quo, and, most recently, downplaying the coronavirus threat in its early stages. Yet, at a time when unemployment rates are soaring, this President is enjoying the highest approval ratings of his presidency. How do we explain that?
According to the recent Gallup Poll, President Trump has an overall approval rating of 49%, as well as a whopping 60% approval rating concerning his handling of the coronavirus crisis. How can this be, after he has been maligned in the media, perhaps more than any other president in history?
Throughout history, we see that Americans want firm, optimistic leadership. That’s why leaders like FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK were so popular in their times. This is especially true in times of crisis, when all of the petty political battles are recognized for exactly what they are. We are in a time of life and death right now, so when you place leadership in its proper perspective, that’s all that really matters.
What are some of those qualities and how have they helped him garner his current approval? President Trump doesn’t fit neatly into any political leadership box, but if we had to define him, I would call him an optimistic pragmatist with a common touch. Trump brings to the table his background as a very successful real estate developer in New York. With every project he took on, he sought advice from experts, but ultimately, he was the one who made the firm decision and stood by it, or as Truman would say, “The buck stops here.”
It’s not just Gallup that places Trump high in the polls. Real Clear Politics is an average of all major polls and they show the President at 47.3%. This includes Democrats. Is it possible that approximately half the nation approves of President Trump? The answer seems to be yes. As I’ve said, Donald Trump has the common touch. He understands the average American and his/her concerns in this time of crisis and he is reflecting that in his very public statements about how all Americans must be willing to sacrifice to defeat the coronavirus, while also reflecting their concerns about not doing permanent damage to the economy and to people’s day-to-day lives. Those concerns are shared by a lot of independents, and yes, also Democrats.
Trump has relatively high ratings despite a lot of criticism from the mainstream media. How can that be? We get a glimpse of that answer by looking to recent events in Israel where there were, in the past year, an unprecedented three elections in a row. Left-wing politicians, along with their largely sycophantic news media, and a liberal, activist Supreme Court, did everything in their power to oust the sitting prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. In the most recent election about a month ago, Netanyahu emerged victorious, despite the media bias against him and the activist judicial system that indicted him on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases. However, we Israelis believe that you really are innocent until proven guilty, so Netanyahu’s prime opponent will now be serving in his government.
Similar unprecedented concerted attacks were waged against President Trump for over three years, yet Americans have a basic sense of fairness. They see that Trump and his emergency team have been working very hard and very methodically, particularly in this time of crisis. The American public also notices that Trump and his team are very transparent, reporting to the public and answering questions every day concerning the crisis and related policy issues. Therefore, when the media engages in unbridled criticism and acts like a knee-jerk opposition party, people are not so easily fooled.
Trump’s leadership skills are clearly serving him well, but, more importantly, they are serving the public well. And the people know it.
David Rubin, former Mayor of Shiloh Israel, is the author of the book, “Trump and the Jews” and five other books. Rubin is the founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, established after he and his then three-year-old son were wounded in a terror attack. He can be found at DavidRubinIsrael.com or at ShilohIsraelChildren.org.