The American public’s usual response following most major crises has been to rally around whoever is president, in a show of support for both him and the nation he represents. That was the ‘usual’—until Donald Trump, that is.
Take the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, for instance: 84% of Americans supported President Bill Clinton’s response to it. Or how about 9/11, when 87% of the public approved of President George W. Bush’s handling of the tragedy? President Barack Obama received 74% support in the aftermath of the 2011 Tucson shooting, one of the first major mass shootings that took place during his presidency.
Despite the public’s long demonstrated desire to believe in their elected leader in times of crisis and much-needed national healing, Americans just can’t bring themselves to rally around the least genuine ‘healer in chief’ of modern times. Here’s how Trump, with his wooden teleprompter deliveries followed by his predictably divisive tweets, has fared after several of America’s tragedies, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.
- Charlottesville shooting: 20% approval, 55% disapproval
- Hurricane Maria: 29% approval, 54% disapproval
- Pipe bomb terrorism: 39% approval, 50% disapproval
- Pittsburgh shooting: 37% approval, 48% disapproval
- El Paso and Dayton shootings: 36% approval, 52% disapproval
Gosh, even Trump’s best showing, 39%, is nothing but his base of supporters. And then again, sometimes he can’t even convince them that he cares. Sometimes during a crisis, people take an ‘any port in a storm’ approach to coping. Not with Trump—and not this port, say most Americans.