Trump’s False Claim That His Presidential Approval Rating is ‘Not Bad’

Six months into his presidency, Donald Trump is putting a positive spin on the latest round of public polling on his job performance.

“The ABC/Washington Post Poll, even though almost 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!” Trump tweeted Sunday morning, July 16.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll actually showed Trump’s approval rating at 36 percent — not almost 40 percent, as the president stated.

We decided to fact-check Trump’s claim that his approval rating is “not bad at this time” by comparing his numbers to those of other presidents at the six-month mark.

How does Trump’s approval rating compare to other presidents?

Since the middle of the 20th century, pollsters have been systematically tracking responses to the question: “Do you approve or disapprove of the way (president’s name) is handling his job as president?”

As a result, a modern-day president’s performance can be tracked against that of historical predecessors as far back as Harry Truman.

So what to make Trump’s claim that his six-month approval rating is “not bad”?

Before turning to that question, an important caveat is that a widely cited average of Trump approval rating polls by Real Clear Politics does show Trump’s rating hovering around 40 percent. But the focus of this fact-check is on the ABC News/Washington Post poll, because that’s the one Trump singled out in his tweet.

According to Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post polling data, the average six-month presidential approval rating is around 62 percent — well above Trump’s approval rating of 36 percent.

The results look even bleaker when Trump’s numbers are placed side-by-side with other presidents.

According to data compiled by ABC News, Trump has the worst approval rating in the last seven decades compared to other presidents at roughly the same period in their presidency.

The second worst approval rating is that of President Gerald Ford, at 39 percent.

Trump’s net approval rating (percent approval minus disapproval) of -22 percent is also a historic low since presidential polling of this kind began.

Only two other presidents — Bill Clinton and Ford — had negative net approval ratings at this point in their tenure.

“Politicians always want to claim they are doing well in the polls,” said Karlyn Bowman, a polling expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “But Donald Trump’s claim that his ratings are ‘not bad’ compared to other president’s doesn’t square with available historical data, which shows his approval rating below all presidents for whom we have data at this point in their presidencies.”

Our ruling

Trump said his six-month approval poll numbers are “not bad” relative to other presidents at this point in his presidency.

Not bad isn’t a scientific term, but by any sober measure Trump is performing relatively worse compared to his contemporaries, as well as any president since World War II.

We rate his claim False.

[PolitiFact]

During Made in America Week, White House Defends Imported Trump Products

As the White House kicks off its Made in America Week, shining a spotlight on products manufactured domestically, President Donald Trump’s spokesman was forced Monday to defend the fact that goods bearing the Trump name are frequently produced abroad.

Made in America Week — continuing a trend of themed weeks, such as Infrastructure Week and Energy Week — saw the White House hosting a product showcase featuring a variety of items manufactured in the U.S., the president delivering a speech encouraging domestic manufacturing and a ceremony commissioning the latest American-built Navy aircraft carrier.

But asked at Monday’s press briefing about whether the Trump Organization or Ivanka Trump brands would commit “to stop manufacturing wares abroad,” press secretary Sean Spicer shifted the focus to Trump’s attempts to cultivate other companies’ domestic production efforts.

“I think what’s really important is the president’s agenda — regulatory relief and tax relief — are focused on trying to make sure that all companies can hire here, can expand here, can manufacture here,” said Spicer.

On the matter of Trump-branded items, he added, “I can tell you that in some cases, there are certain supply chains or scalability that may not be available in this country.”

Questions about Trump products’ creation and assembly abroad have dogged the businessman-turned-president since first announcing his America-first ambitions at the launch of his candidacy for president over two years ago.

During a memorable campaign stop in August 2016, Democratic rival Hillary Clinton held up a Trump-branded tie made China as she assailed the Republican nominee for suits stitched in Mexico, furniture created in Turkey and picture frames made in India.

But asked at Monday’s press briefing about whether the Trump Organization or Ivanka Trump brands would commit “to stop manufacturing wares abroad,” press secretary Sean Spicer shifted the focus to Trump’s attempts to cultivate other companies’ domestic production efforts.

“I think what’s really important is the president’s agenda — regulatory relief and tax relief — are focused on trying to make sure that all companies can hire here, can expand here, can manufacture here,” said Spicer.

On the matter of Trump-branded items, he added, “I can tell you that in some cases, there are certain supply chains or scalability that may not be available in this country.”

Questions about Trump products’ creation and assembly abroad have dogged the businessman-turned-president since first announcing his America-first ambitions at the launch of his candidacy for president over two years ago.

During a memorable campaign stop in August 2016, Democratic rival Hillary Clinton held up a Trump-branded tie made China as she assailed the Republican nominee for suits stitched in Mexico, furniture created in Turkey and picture frames made in India.

Trump shrugged off the criticism during the campaign, telling ABC News that Clinton didn’t need to raise the issue because he readily took ownership of the foreign items, chalking up the decisions as a financial one, given the costs of U.S. manufacturing. He pointed to the nature of the economy and blamed then-President Barack Obama’s policies for forcing his hand.

“Unfortunately, my ties are made in China, and I will say this, the hats — Make America great again — I searched long and hard to find somebody that made the hats in this country,” Trump told ABC News in June 2016.

“I pay a lot more money. It is a very hard thing, and it’s because they devalue their currency,” he added, referring to alleged Chinese efforts to make it less expensive to buy goods from the country.

Trump partially chalked up the production imbalance to “unfair trade practices” as he spoke at the product showcase Monday afternoon. Touting job creation in the manufacturing sector since he took office, he promised that the country would “once again rediscover our heritage as a manufacturing nation.”

“We’re here to celebrate American manufacturing and showcase all the products of the 50 states made in the U.S.A,” he said. “Remember in the old days, they used to have ‘Made in the U.S.A.’? ‘Made in America’ but ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ — we’re going to start doing that again. We’re going to put that brand on our product because it means it’s the best.”

Comments about the Trump Organization’s business efforts by the president and his advisers have waned since his election, particularly as critics decry what they view as potential conflicts of interest. Spicer expressed discomfort in fielding the query on the topic Monday.

“Again, it’s not appropriate me for to stand up here and comment about a business, and I believe that’s a little out of bounds,” he said, as the line of questioning wound down at the press briefing. “But again, I would go back to the president’s broader goal, which is to create investment here, to bring back the manufacturing base.”

[ABC News]

Trump Makes Up 45,000 New Mining Jobs

President Donald Trump boasted Monday that the nation added 45,000 mining jobs recently — but there’s scant data to back that up. One thing there is evidence for: Only 800 coal mining jobs have been created during his tenure.

“In Pennsylvania, two weeks ago, they opened a mine, the first mine that was opened in decades….Well, we picked up 45,000 mining jobs in a very short period of time,” Trump said during an event pegged to American manufacturing. “Everybody was saying, ‘Well, you won’t get any mining jobs,’ we picked up 45,000 mining jobs. Well, the miners are very happy with Trump and with Pence, and we’re very proud of that.”

President Donald Trump boasted Monday that the nation added 45,000 mining jobs recently — but there’s scant data to back that up. One thing there is evidence for: Only 800 coal mining jobs have been created during his tenure.

“In Pennsylvania, two weeks ago, they opened a mine, the first mine that was opened in decades….Well, we picked up 45,000 mining jobs in a very short period of time,” Trump said during an event pegged to American manufacturing. “Everybody was saying, ‘Well, you won’t get any mining jobs,’ we picked up 45,000 mining jobs. Well, the miners are very happy with Trump and with Pence, and we’re very proud of that.”

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed to bring back coal jobs and attacked Hillary Clinton for turning her back on the industry.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates there are roughly 50,800 coal mining jobs nationwide, 800 of which have been added since Trump took office. (The six months before that, under President Barack Obama’s administration, 1,300 coal jobs were added.)

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Trump’s numbers. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt made a similar claim speaking about all mining and logging jobs earlier this year, earning a PolitiFact ruling of “mostly false.”

BLS data estimates the nation has added roughly 41,500 new mining and logging jobs in the first six months of 2017, but just 1,000 of them are mining (not including oil and gas mining jobs, which account for another couple thousand.)

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The coal industry often creates spinoff jobs as mining towns need doctors, schools and diners, for instance. There are notably many truck drivers, electricians and other professionals working with coal companies whose livelihood depends on coal production, but these jobs are not counted in federal BLS data on coal mining, according to Terry Headley, communications director for the American Coal Council.

The Pennsylvania mine opening that Trump touted on Monday is expected to create 70 jobs.

[NBC News]

Spicer Contradicts Emails, President on Trump Jr Meeting

White House press secretary Sean Spicer contradicted President Donald Trump Monday when he insisted that a meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer in the months leading up to the election was about adoption policy.

“The President has made it clear through this tweet. And there was nothing, as far as we know, that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for a discussion about adoption and the Magnitsky Act,” Spicer said at an off-camera briefing with reporters. “But I would refer you back to counsel on that one.”

In his first appearance at the White House briefing since June 26, Spicer repeated the same defense that Trump Jr. originally offered on July 8 when he was asked about the meeting — that it was a nothing but “short introductory meeting … about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago.”

However, Trump Jr. later admitted he took the meeting because he was promised compromising information about Hillary Clinton when he publicly released his email exchange with Rob Goldstone, a publicist who helped set up the meeting.

The subject line of the back-and-forth between the two was “Russia – Clinton – private and confidential,” and Trump Jr. was promised incriminating information on Hillary Clinton from a “Russian government attorney” that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” according to the emails.

“If it is what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. wrote.

Though Spicer maintained that the meeting was only about “adoption and the Magnitsky Act,” Trump Jr. told Sean Hannity last Tuesday he had “never even heard of” the Magnitsky Act “before, you know, that day.”

Spicer’s statement also contradicts the President, who has acknowledged his son took the meeting in order to get damaging information on his opponent and defended him for doing so, saying “that’s politics.”

“Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” Trump tweeted earlier Monday.

Trump said the same during a gaggle with reporters on Air Force One as he flew to Paris last week.

“Honestly, in a world of politics, most people are going to take that meeting,” Trump said. “If somebody called and said, ‘hey’ — and you’re a Democrat — and by the way, they have taken them — ‘hey, I have really some information on Donald Trump. You’re running against Donald Trump. Can I see you?’ I mean, how many people are not going to take the meeting?”

The White House did not immediately respond to a CNN request for clarification about Spicer’s remark.

[CNN]

Trump defends Donald Trump Jr. in Sunday morning tweetstorm

President Donald Trump defended his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., on Twitter Sunday morning amid mounting questions about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, implying a media double standard in its treatment of Hillary Clinton.

“HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?” Trump wrote.

The President’s latest tweet on the matter comes as questions continue to swirl about the June 2016 meeting, which included at least eight people, including Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and the Russian lawyer, sources familiar with the meeting told CNN. Trump Jr. took the meeting on the premise that he would get information from the lawyer that would be damaging to Clinton’s campaign, according to emails Trump Jr. posted on Twitter last week.

The meeting has put fresh scrutiny on the actions of Trump’s family and campaign officials as federal investigators probe whether the campaign colluded with Russians in Moscow’s attempt to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

The President also commended ex-campaign adviser Michael Caputo for publicly denying knowledge of any alleged contacts between the campaign and Russia after testifying privately to the House intelligence committee Friday.

“Thank you to former campaign adviser Michael Caputo for saying so powerfully that there was no Russian collusion in our winning campaign,” Trump tweeted.

Caputo, a former top adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign with strong ties to Russia, said at a press conference after his testimony that “there was absolutely not discussion of Russia” in the Trump campaign while he was there.

“I spent my time in front of the committee detailing the fact that I had no contact with Russians, that I never heard of anyone with the Trump campaign talking with Russians, that I was never asked questions about my time in Russia, that I never even spoke to anyone about Russia, that I never heard the word ‘Russia,’ and we did not use Russian dressing,” Caputo told reporters. “There was absolutely no discussion of Russia on the Trump campaign ’til the day I left.”

Caputo resigned from the campaign on June 20, 2016 after celebrating the dismissal of then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with a tweet that said, “Ding Dong the witch is dead.” Manafort replaced Lewandowski as chairman.

Trump also continued his broadside of the news media in his Sunday morning tweets, claiming without providing evidence that news agencies use phony unnamed sources in their stories.

“With all of its phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting, #Fake News is DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country!” Trump tweeted.

[CNN]

White House Just Doxxed Americans Critical of Trump’s Election Commission

The White House just responded to concerns it would release voters’ sensitive personal information by releasing a bunch of voters’ sensitive personal information.

Last month, the White House’s “election integrity” commission sent out requests to every state asking for all voters’ names, party IDs, addresses, and even the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, among other information. The White House then said this information would be made available to the public.

A lot of people did not like the idea, fearing that their personal information could be made public. So some sent emails to the White House, demanding that it rescind the request.

This week, the White House decided to make those emails from concerned citizens public through the commission’s new website. But the administration made a big mistake: It didn’t censor any of the personal information — such as names, email addresses, actual addresses, and phone numbers — included in those emails.

In effect, the White House just released the sensitive personal information of a lot of concerned citizens giving feedback to their government. That’s made even worse by the fact that the White House did this when the thing citizens were complaining about was the possibility that their private information would be made public.

As of Friday afternoon, the emails are still uncensored and available on the White House’s website. They include all sorts of feedback, from concerns about privacy to outright insults of the Trump administration. One email just links to an image of the terrifying pornographic meme Goatse. (Do not Google this if you value your eyes.)

“DO NOT RELEASE ANY OF MY VOTER DATA, PERIOD,” said one person whose full name and email address were subsequently released in the collection of emails.

The White House website does now warn about the possibility of personal information going public: “Please note that the Commission may post such written comments publicly on our website, including names and contact information that are submitted.” But it’s not clear if the people who sent emails to the White House knew of this before the commission’s website went up this week.

It isn’t atypical to release some personal information with public comments. The Federal Communications Commission, for example, posts commenters’ addresses on its filing website. But the White House’s move quickly caught people’s attention on social media.

A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, who’s helping head the commission, defended the move.

“These are public comments, similar to individuals appearing before commission to make comments and providing name before making comments,” Marc Lotter, press secretary to the vice president, said. “The Commission’s Federal Register notice asking for public comments and its website make clear that information ‘including names and contact information’ sent to this email address may be released.”

The White House’s “election integrity” commission has been criticized more broadly because it’s widely believed to be an attempt to justify voter suppression. The group was set up after President Donald Trump, on Twitter and elsewhere, complained that he lost the popular vote due to millions of fraudulent votes. The best research shows that voter fraud is incredibly rare in the US — in 2016, for example, an investigation in North Carolina found that just one out of nearly 4.8 million total votes in the state was potentially a credible case of in-person voter fraud.

But Republicans, with Trump now included, have used exaggerated fears of voter fraud to pass legislation that would add new barriers to voting — which disproportionately affects low-income and minority voters who just so happen to lean Democrat. For more on all that, read Vox’s explainer.

[Vox]

Trump Told Theresa May He Won’t Visit UK Until He’s Sure He’ll Get a Warm Welcome

U.S. President Donald Trump petulantly informed U.K. Prime Minister Teresa May that he won’t be making any official state visits to her country unless she can guarantee that people will be nice to him, according to reports.

“I haven’t had great coverage out there lately, Theresa,” Trump told May in a private conversation that was transcribed by aides and reported by senior diplomats to British newspaper The Sun.

May replied stiffly, “Well, you know what the British press are like.”

“I still want to come, but I’m in no rush,” Trump reportedly said to May. “So, if you can fix it for me, it would make things a lot easier.”

“When I know I’m going to get a better reception,” the president said, “I’ll come and not before.”

One of the Sun’s sources said that May “tried to explain she has no power to dictate how newspapers and media might decide to cover his visit.”

“After all,” the individual said. “We are not North Korea.”

Trump, the source said, simply would not agree on a date for a state visit until “people support him coming.”

Trump has been an object of scorn and derision to the majority of the British public. His ham-handed attempts to bend local laws to accommodate a Trump golf course in Scotland have alienated and angered locals. The U.K. Parliament featured a lively debate earlier this year over whether Trump should not only be disinvited from state visits, but whether he should be banned from the country altogether.

[Raw Story]

Trump: I’ve ‘Done More in Five Months Than Practically Any President in History’

President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that the current mood in the White House is “fantastic,” despite recent pressure following allegations surrounding his son’s involvement with Russia during last year’s election campaign.

In a wide ranging interview with Reuters, the president also claimed that his administration “had done more in five months than practically any president in history.”

“If you look at Iraq and if you look at Syria and you see the progress we’ve made with ISIS, it’s been almost complete,” he said, referring to militant and terrorist group Islamic State, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Reuters’ website.

“The White House is functioning beautifully. The stock market has hit a new high. Job numbers are the best they’ve been in 16 years. We have a Supreme Court judge already confirmed. Energy is doing levels that we’ve never done before. Our military is doing well. We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS, which Obama wasn’t. There’s not a thing that we’re not doing well in.”

Trump’s assertion about the current mood in the White House flies in the face of media reports this week. The Washington Post said Wednesday, citing officials and outside advisors, his team had been thrusted into “chaos” after revelations of a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a lawyer characterized as linked to the Russian government.

Trump continues to split opinion in the U.S, and around the globe, and many would also question his comments on his team’s achievements. Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, Barry Diller, chairman of IAC, said Trump’s presidency has so far been a “joke.”

“He hasn’t done anything, really. I think it’s just a joke. Hopefully it will be over relatively soon,” Diller said. “It inexplicably began and it will inexplicably end.”

[CNBC]

Reality

The claim that Trump has done more than any president in history to this point is a tired one that doesn’t comport with basically any objective measure. There has been no signature legislation, several courts halted his travel ban before the Supreme Court allowed part of it, and there have been several controversies. Trump made this same claim after 90 days, and it got four Pinocchios from The Post’s Fact Checker.

 

Trump’s lawyer to critic: ‘Watch your back , bitch

President Trump’s attorney on Russian matters, Marc Kasowitz, used a series of profanities in several emails published by ProPublica on Thursday in response to someone who had urged him to resign and quit defending the president.

“Watch your back , bitch,” Kasowitz concluded in one of the bizarre emails.

The person who emailed Kasowitz also sent him a previously published article by ProPublica that alleged Kasowitz abuses alcohol at work and has contributed to a hostile work environment.

It appears that attachment might have triggered Kasowitz’s temper.

A request for comment from The Hill to Kasowitz’s office was not immediately returned, but Kasowitz’s spokesman told The Associated Press he “intends to apologize.”

Kasowitz’s spokesman also issued a statement regarding the initial ProPublica story, denying Kasowitz suffers from alcohol abuse.

“Marc Kasowitz has not struggled with alcoholism,” spokesman Michael Sitrick told ProPublica.

ProPublica did not identify the man who emailed Kasowitz.

The email he sent to Trump’s lawyer included the subject line “Resign. Now.”

In the email, the man said it was in the interest of Kasowitz and his firm to resign as Trump’s counsel.

Kasowitz responds minutes later with two words: “F*ck you.”

In another email fifteen minutes later, Kasowitz begins to threaten the man, who asked ProPublica not to identify him.

“You don’t know me, but I will know you,” Kasowitz responded. “How dare you send me an email like that. I’m on you now. You are f—ing with me now. Let’s see who you are. Watch your back , bitch.”

The man responded to Kasowitz’s email with a simple “thank you for your kind reply” and “I may be in touch as appropriate.”

But Kasowitz wasn’t done. Minutes later, another email arrived, with Kasowitz’s phone number.

“You are such a piece of shit,” he wrote. “Call me. Don’t be afraid, you piece of shit. Stand up. If you don’t call, you’re just afraid. Call me.”

A fourth response a half hour later referenced that Kasowitz is Jewish.

“I’m Jewish. I presume you are too. Stop being afraid. Call me. Or give me your number and I will call you,” he wrote. “I already know where you live, I’m on you. You might as well call me. You will see me, I promise, bro.”

According to ProPublica, the man forwarded the entire conversation to the FBI, saying he was disturbed by Kasowitz’s replies.

President Trump has periodically retained Kasowitz over the last 15 years, including to defend him in his Trump University case and the ongoing investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

[The Hill]

Trump Tells Brigitte Macron: ‘You’re in Such Good Shape’

First, they shared an awkward handshake. Then, President Donald Trump complimented Brigitte Macron’s “physical shape.”

“You’re in such good shape. She’s in such good physical shape. Beautiful,” Trump told the French President’s wife, who was standing next to first lady Melania Trump.

Earlier in the day, at the welcome ceremony in Paris, Trump and French first lady Brigitte Macron extended their hands to one another — fumbling to make contact for a handshake — before they embraced for a traditional kiss on the cheek. Afterward, they rejoined hands while they continued to talk.

It’s not the first awkward greeting between Trump and a Macron. In May, Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shared a long, tense handshake during their first meeting in Brussels. The French leader later said his white-knuckled grip had a deeper meaning.

“My handshake with him, it’s not innocent,” Macron said. “It’s not the alpha and the omega of politics, but a moment of truth.”

Trump’s handshakes have become signature moments in his interactions with world leaders. While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the White House in February, Trump shook his hand for 19 seconds, even patting it several times and pulling it closer. A month later, Trump apparently declined to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand during an Oval Office meeting, though he shook it at other times in her visit to Washington.

[CNN]

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