The World Has Officially Lost Confidence In U.S. Leadership Under Trump

Even George W. Bush was more popular.

Global views on U.S. leadership have plummeted since President Donald Trump took office, according to a Gallup poll.

The poll, released Thursday, shows that only 30 percent of the public approves of U.S. leadership, down from 48 percent in 2016. At the same time, 43 percent of people expressed a negative opinion of the U.S. leadership, up from 28 percent in 2016.

The previous record for lowest global approval rating came in 2007― the first year Gallup did the polling ― during the end of George W. Bush’s administration, amid the global financial crisis. The results are based on phone and in-person interviews with approximately 1,000 people in more than 130 countries.

Meanwhile, approval of China’s leadership was at 31 percent. Yes, you heard that right ― about as many people trust China, with an abysmal record on human rights and press freedom, as the U.S.

Declining public opinion on U.S. leadership follows months of spats between Trump and several key allies, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. In contrast, he’s cozied up to controversial leaders, like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump’s America First agenda ― and his more isolated stances on trade, immigration and climate change ― also has damaged the U.S. reputation abroad, Gallup said. Trump’s decision last year to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris climate pact was especially unpopular, with politicians and business leaders worldwide resoundingly denouncing the move.

French President Emanuel Macron in December underscored the gaps in confidence by awarding more than a dozen U.S.-based scientists millions of dollars in funding for climate research.

“We will be there to replace” the U.S. on funding of climate science, Macron said during a major climate meeting where Trump was not invited.

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
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