Active-duty military support for Trump is withering away. Polling shows a steady decline with disapproval now, essentially, equaling approval. According to this 900 person Military Times polling,
results show sharp divides within the ranks.
Enlisted men show Trump the most overwhelming support.
Military women, meanwhile, have a much harsher view of Trump’s time in office.
Officers still have a lower opinion of his presidency than enlisted troops.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis might be the sole member of the Cabinet viewed quite positively by those under him. His numbers, in this poll, are a stark contrast to Trump’s: over 80% of those in the survey view Mattis favorably.
In National Review, David French explains that President Trump’s Standing Is Slipping with the Military, for Good Reason.
when it came to the military, Trump was set up for success. He extolled the military throughout the campaign. Many service members were ready for a change after eight years of Obama, and there was little love for Hillary Clinton. Right after his election, he surrounded himself with generals, including Jim Mattis, a man who still has a whopping 73.6 percent approval rating with the troops. Trump started with a reservoir of goodwill
He’s been draining it ever since.
Just consider the past weeks:
- Leaked that Trump thought generals got $millions/year (rather than roughly $200k);
- Sending troops to the border due to a migrant “caravan” a thousand miles away for political purposes and waving away the hardship of their missing Thanksgiving with their families for a political stunt;
- Skipping a memorial service in France at a US World War I cemetery to avoid mussing his hair and not putting a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Veterans Day;
- Attacking the SEAL Admiral who commanded the Bin Laden mission;
- News reporting confirmed that Trump is afraid of war zones, clearly explaining yet another reason he goes to his golf courses rather than visiting troops in combat zones;
- Engaged in political attacks on the judiciary, returned (yet again) to his weird questioning of Navy aircraft carrier launch systems, and promoted his golf resorts in Thanksgiving calls to military forces; and,
Not hard to imagine why Trump’s active-duty support is slip, slip, slipping away.
Of course, this is putting aside
- the quite high likelihood (discounted by too many in the military) that Trump is an agent of a(t least one) foreign power;
- that Trump has been undermining U.S. military alliance structures around the world;
- Trump’s clear ignorance about basic military issues and larger strategy; and
for a strong discussion of so many other reasons
why Trump should lose support from troops,
see Jon Perr’s excellent article:
A dishonorable discharge for Commander in Chief Trump
French ends his discussion with an important element.
Good officers understand the concept of selfless service. They understand that the mission comes first, and that they will share the burdens and sacrifices of the men they command. Their commander in chief broadcasts a different message, that Trump comes first. And if that is in fact his ethos, then he’ll alienate the men and women he commands, no matter the size of the defense budget.
There are times when insults are more than just words. There are times when style and symbols matter as much as substance — in part because they communicate character and intention. Soldiers are looking at the character of their commander [Trump], and an increasing number simply don’t like what they see.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.