As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama asserted that he was a “citizen of the world.” By contrast, during his first address to Congress last year, President Donald Trump said, “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.”
Many around the world seem to have formed clear opinions on the contrast.
A Gallup international poll released Thursday found that the median approval for U.S. leadership in 134 countries dropped to 30 percent during the first year of the Trump administration—a drop from 48 percent approval during the final year of the Obama administration.
Support for the U.S. dropped by at least 10 percentage points among 65 U.S. allies, the poll found.
“Any president that puts American interests first might cause concern from the rest of the world that became accustomed to an ‘apology tour’ from the previous administration,” Jenny Beth Martin, founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.
According to the Gallup World Poll, U.S. leadership approval ratings declined substantially—by 10 percentage points or more—in 65 out of 134 countries that include many longtime U.S. allies and partners. Download the report to learn more: https://t.co/tBR1Ju68P4
— Gallup (@Gallup) January 18, 2018
Citizens of some countries might well question how they fit in with an “America first” policy, Martin said.
“President Trump has been clear that, in trade treaties and international policies, he will put American interests first, but he is still willing to work with the world,” she said.
In a bright spot from the poll, support for the United States’ global leadership increased by double digits in Israel, Liberia, Macedonia, and Belarus.
The poll was taken from March through November. It notes that the 67 percent support from Israel came before Trump on Dec. 6 announced plans to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Still, the Americas and Europe saw declines in support for the United States, according to Gallup. Portugal, Belgium, Norway, and Canada led the declines worldwide, with approval ratings dropping 40 points or more for U.S. leadership in each country.
“I don’t think the poll is very surprising. We are seeing a wave of anti-American sentiment across the world,” Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “We saw this during the Bush administration. We are seeing it again under another Republican administration.”
Of course, certain countries upset America’s no longer a pushover. @realdonaldtrump is cutting off funding for terrorists, making allies pay their fair share and putting American jobs first – exactly what we elected him to do! #MAGA https://t.co/yYxFVQpxgV
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) January 18, 2018
The polls found the U.S. trails Germany in global leadership and is about even with China at 31 percent, and a little more popular than Russia, which stood at 27 percent. By contrast, under Obama, the U.S. led Germany by seven points, and beat China and Russia by double digits.
“At the end of the day, world leadership is not a popularity contest,” Gardiner said in a phone interview. “When we have forceful U.S. leadership, we are bound to see pushback. President Obama’s administration polled quite highly, and he had the least effective U.S. administration on the world stage in decades.”
The survey itself lacks credibility, said David Bozell, president of ForAmerica, a conservative advocacy group.
“The Gallup ‘poll’ is ridiculously stupid,” Bozell told The Daily Signal in an email. “The survey respondents include kids as young as 15, in some countries that only have state-run media. Anyone using this poll to further some agenda against President Trump can’t be taken seriously.”