Not much went President Trump’s way this week and he really doesn’t have anybody to blame but himself. And in a rare agreement, our presidential weekly report card graders, Democratic pollster John Zogby and conservative analyst Jed Babbin, both said it was a failed week for Trump as strong economic numbers were overshadowed by his “shithole” comments, failure to land an immigration deal and a delay in killing the Iran nuclear deal.
The President and the leaders of Congress were talking this week. So were the North and South Koreans. That is the good news.
Trump actually looked engaged in the spirited conversation with Democrats about immigration policy. But everything blew up when the president reportedly wondered why the United States allows so many immigrants to come from "shithole countries.” While Trump denies he used those words, leaders from both parties said that is what they heard — and it was in reference to African countries and Haiti.
The president is being condemned by both parties for his racist language. He has been able to dodge bullets before but today he is castigated by representatives from all over the world. And he should be.
The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
His polling numbers had climbed to a 43 percent average and now are back to 39 percent approval. After almost a year in office he is polling 7 points lower than his numbers on Election Day 2016. Words do matter and the president opens doors and windows of opportunity for the basest elements in our nation when he talks like that.
This was a week during which the president must want to take a mulligan. It began where last week left off on, the new “Fire and Fury” book which “reports" that the president is mentally unstable and dumb. To which President Trump tweeted that he is a “very stable genius.”
The week went downhill from there. Trump seemed to give way on immigration, last week’s opening of offshore drilling, the Paris agreement on global warming and Obama’s nuclear weapons deal with Iran. It was enough to send many conservatives into orbit.
After grumbling from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, his state was exempted from the offshore drilling policy intended to open about 90 percent of America’s offshore oil and gas fields to exploration and drilling. That served only to anger other governors whose states have large offshore oil and gas reserves.
At midweek, the president said that he might keep America in the Paris global warming agreement if it were changed, but he didn’t say what changes he’d like to see.
Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson all condemned Trump’s possible cave-in on amnesty for DACA immigrants, warning that such action would betray Trump’s biggest campaign promise. It’s not clear what the president will agree to but their point is very well taken. The president offered a scaled-back wall of 700 miles in length to be built over 10 years. That is Swamp Talk meaning that construction of the wall will continue — at a glacial pace — during Trump’s term in office and will cease immediately after it.
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
As the week ended, Trump announced that he’d keep Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran intact and would try to renegotiate the terms with our European allies (Britain, France and Germany) who also had signed the deal, as did China and Russia. The proposed renegotiation would lessen Iranian restrictions on the sites U.N. inspectors can search and cover Iran’s missile developments. It’s purely a pretense. The Obama deal made no mention of the Iranian missile program and the Iranians have, since the deal was signed in 2015, refused any renegotiation of its terms. Renegotiating the deal with the Europeans is a pretense, nothing more. Trump repeatedly called it “the worst possible” deal, though he never plainly said he’d cancel it. He’s run out of reasons for continuing the deal.
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby
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
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com