President Donald Trump’s disapproval rating has reached a record high — and the number of Americans who support special counsel Robert Mueller over Trump is now greater than those who do not.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that three out of five Americans (60 percent) disapprove of Trump’s performance as president, with only 36 percent approving of how he has performed so far. Similarly 49 percent of Americans believe that Congress should start proceedings that might ultimately lead to Trump’s removal from office, with only 46 percent saying they should not do so. Finally a whopping 53 percent of Americans believe that Trump’s efforts to interfere with the Mueller probe counts as obstruction of justice, while only 35 percent say that this isn’t the case.
Even on the issue of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who Trump has repeatedly insulted and intimated he might want to fire, Trump’s own party doesn’t have his back. It is to be expected that 75 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents don’t want Trump to fire Sessions, but it’s more telling that 47 percent of Republicans feel the same way — with only 31 percent believing that Trump should terminate the employment of his attorney general for recusing himself from the Mueller probe.
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These recent polling numbers raise interesting questions about the future of Trump’s presidency. With the midterm elections approaching, Republicans like former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon have attempted to turn the election into a referendum on whether or not Trump will be impeached. The underlying assumption behind this strategy has been that most Americans don’t want to see the president impeached and will oppose Democrats who focus on that as a strategy, as well as that the threat of a Trump impeachment will motivate his base to turn out and vote.
“I agree with Steve Bannon 100 percent: the mid-term elections are a referendum on the President and a vote for Republican House candidates is a vote to stop a bogus partisan impeachment,” Michael Caputo, who worked as a communications adviser for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, told Salon by email earlier this month. “I understand why some in the White House and official GOP organs may not behind this message — they have many reasons. But I’m not buying it: impeachment will definitely be on the Democrat agenda if they win the House, and this must be stopped. I’m not afraid to talk about this, regardless of where the Washington Republicans consultant class comes down on it.”
Sam Nunberg, a lawyer and public affairs consultant who advised Trump during the 2016 election, had a similar observation when he spoke with Salon earlier this month.
“This whole notion that the Republican Party, some have said within the consulting class and advisers on our side, that these candidates need to run away from Donald Trump is nonsensical and illogical. Nonsensical because Donald Trump is the issue. Donald Trump is going to be front-and-center,” Nunberg told Salon.
He added, “We are on defense here. So you have to reset the terms to go on offense.”