It’s a federal holiday and I’m on the move, so I’ll just share some new stats.
Gallup has surveyed our less than sagacious nation, and discovered that people are far less confident about this president-elect than they were about his three most recent predecessors. This is no surprise, of course, given the incoming guy’s dearth of qualifications and toddler temperament, but it does suggest that, politically speaking, he may be tethered to a short leash.
The numbers are quite noteworthy. Only 44 percent of Americans have confidence that Trump will “prevent major scandals in his administration.” When Obama was president-elect, 74 percent had confidence. When Bush was president-elect, 77 percent had confidence. But those stats are merely the appetizer.
Only 47 percent have confidence that Trump will “use military force wisely.” By contrast, 71 percent had confidence in Obama, and 78 percent had confidence in Bush. And when Americans were asked whether they have confidence in Trump’s ability to “handle an international crisis,” only 46 percent said yes. When Obama was nearing his inauguration, the share was 73 percent; Bush, 71 percent; Clinton, 70 percent.
Trump also inspires much less confidence on other fronts – including his ability to “defend U.S. interests abroad” and “manage the executive branch effectively.” Translation: He has been markedly less successful than his recent predecessors at rallying the Americans who didn’t vote for him. He would appear to have little margin for error, assuming that he gets the concerted political pushback that he deserves.
It all may hinge on how long Americans – especially those who broke for Trump in the final days of the election – are prepared to tolerate his manifest BS. The holiday weekend episode is a classic example.
Trump is increasingly under pressure to accept the reality that the Russians hacked into and tampered with our presidential election, and he continues to flail wildly in his efforts to protect his Russian benefactor. On Saturday night he insisted, on the hacking issue, that he knows “things that other people don’t know,” and when asked for details, he promised: “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Then, this morning on CNN, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer – who will be eternally tasked with mopping up Trump’s slop – basically said, nah, Trump won’t be revealing anything revelatory at all:
“It’s not a question of necessarily revealing. He’s going to talk about his conclusions and where he thinks things stand. He’s not going to reveal anything that was privileged or was shared with him classified. I think he can share with people his conclusions and his understanding of the situation.”
Yeah whatever. No wonder his boss doesn’t inspire much confidence.
As Bette Davis once said in the movies, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s gonna be a bumpy night.”