This week's White House report card finds President Trump riding a boost in his approval ratings, following is "Rocket Man" address to the United Nations and praise for helping in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. But the Russia ghost is still lingering.
President Trump had a very good week. In his United Nations speech he said a lot of things that should have been said long ago. He stung the U.N. bureaucrats and diplomats with a dose of reality, said that Obama's nuclear weapons deal was an "embarrassment," spoke about Islamic terrorism (which his National Security Advisor keeps telling him not to do) and generally set the U.N.'s teeth on edge. Which is a very good thing.
Today, I announced a new Executive Order with re: to North Korea. We must all do our part to ensure the complete denuclearization of #NoKo. pic.twitter.com/igjOSM7N7h— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2017
The question is whether Trump's words will be translated into presidential action. That hasn't been the case on many of his most important campaign promises.
Reactions to Trump's speech were predictable and, in some cases, nearly violent. Iran mocked Trump as "inexperienced" in diplomacy (which he is) reiterated its refusal to renegotiate the Obama deal. French President Macron criticized Trump (not Iran). Kim Jong Un called Trump "dotard" and threatened to conduct a hydrogen bomb test in the atmosphere somewhere in the Pacific.
There is still major dissent in the administration over the Obama-Iran deal. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly strongly favors keeping it in place and others -- including U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley -- strongly oppose that course. Trump will have to make a decision next month to -- for the third time -- certify to Congress that Iran is compliant with the deal or decline to do so, triggering congressional action (or, more likely, inaction) to restore the sanctions that had been in place before the deal. Mr. Trump needs to take a position and stick to it.
Later in the week, the president signed an executive order that put in place another heavy sanction on North Korea. Under this order, banks and companies doing business with North Korea will be prevented from doing business with the U.S. or any U.S. business. That won't denuclearize North Korea -- the president's stated goal -- but it will make it more difficult for Kim Jong Un to keep up his lavish lifestyle while his people exist near the starvation point.
Hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico will benefit from Trump's national disaster declaration just as Houston and Florida have.
A very strange week for the president. Investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election are closing in on Mr. Trump's inner circle -- including admission of having wiretapped his former campaign chairman.
Mr. Trump's first speech before the United Nations was unlike anything anyone has ever seen (or even imagined). He actually threatened to annihilate another country and enraged some of America's' most important allies.
He supported yet another repeal of Obamacare that has failed again.
But he is still basking in the glow of his action during the recent hurricanes.
His GOP primary runoff candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, Sen. Luther Strange, has picked up some steam in the polls. And Mr. Trump's own polling numbers have gone up to 43 percent in a Zogby Analytics poll.
Jed Babbin is an Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is and author of We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org