Recently, Newt Gingrich wrote an article for Fox News where he went after the “elite media” for telling the truth about the awfulness of Donald Trump, how much of a failure his “presidency” has been thus far, and how embarrassing his historically low approval ratings have been (as of today his average approval rating is 38 percent).
If you’re a Trump supporter, this pile of mostly-fictional garbage written by Gingrich was exactly what you wanted to hear: a direct attack on the “elite media” for doing everything they can to undermine this “president.”
Unfortunately for them, most of what Gingrich said wasn’t true or was contextually inaccurate.
I’ll go ahead and get started debunking this nonsense, beginning with this part:
In their eagerness to declare the Trump presidency a failure, the elite media is failing to inform us of two things.
First, President Reagan had a similar period during his first term when his approval rating fell to 35 percent — even lower than President Trump’s. Reagan bounced back, carried 49 states in a landslide reelection, and went on to oversee an economic boom and change world history by pushing the Soviet Union into collapse.
So, history tells us that presidential approval ratings at this point in time are not indicative of a president’s future success.
While it’s true Reagan did have a low point in his presidency where his Gallup approval rating hit 35 percent (the same number Trump currently has with them), he didn’t reach that low point until the beginning of 1983 — two years into his presidency:
There’s a huge difference between a 35 percent approval rating two years into a presidency and reaching that same low mark in just eight months.
So comparing Reagan’s lowest approval number to Trump’s is ridiculous on several levels:
- Reagan was two years into his first term when he hit 35 percent in Gallup, while Trump managed to reach that within just a few months (he actually hit 34 percent on August 13th).
- Just prior to Reagan’s lowest Gallup approval rating, the economy was weak and unemployment hit 10.8 percent. Meanwhile, the current economy is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, we’re in the midst of the longest streak of private sector job growth in history, and the unemployment rate is 4.3 percent. So it’s obvious Reagan’s numbers suffered mightily from a struggling economy, while Trump’s pathetically low 35 percent approval rating occurred during a very strong period of economic growth and stability for the country. As I’ve said before, imagine how low Trump’s approval numbers would be if the economy wasn’t doing so well thanks to the Obama administration?
That means not only was Gingrich not comparing two equal points in the presidencies of Reagan and Trump, but he blatantly omitted a key difference between the two: the health of the economy.
Next up Gingrich decided to whine about how differently Trump’s been treated when compared to — French President Emmanuel Macron:
Second, in addition to failing to contextualize President Trump’s approval ratings in history, the elite media is ignoring the present. Look, for example, at the radically different way it has treated President Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France.
According to the elite media, Macron is the brilliant young technocrat who saved France from Marine Le Pen and Trump-like populism. Macron won with a stunning 66 percent of the vote. He formed a new party which swept the legislative elections, giving him a unique opportunity to reform France.
The news media loved him. They lionized him because he was seen as the anti-Trump. Macron was smooth where Trump was rough. Macron was sophisticated and international where Trump was an American populist (oh how it pains the elite media to have a crude populist as their president when they could have someone elegant who understands fine wine and cheese).
Unfortunately for the elite media, the Macron myth has not aged well. As voters came to know him, they were put off by his icy, imperialist aloofness. As they came to understand his proposed reforms, they decided they opposed them.
Macron was at 64 percent approval in June. Now, less than two months later, he has fallen to 36 percent….BELOW TRUMP.
To be honest, I have no idea why Gingrich is comparing an American president’s approval numbers with that of other world leaders. Considering every nation is different, including how they run their government, as well as the number of political parties in each, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.
However, even as Gingrich whined about how the “elite media” covered Macron, the two-time adulterer and disgraced former Speaker of the House linked an article from The Washington Post that actually lists several reasons why the French president’s approval numbers have declined:
In an interview, Antoni Minniti, a research director at YouGov France, attributed the unusual drop-off to a “convergence of elements” after Macron’s first 100 days in office. Among the frequently cited factors his team noticed, he said, were reactions to the president’s perceived lack of respect for the French military and the relative inexperience and lack of discipline shown by his party’s parliamentary deputies.
Others say the decline can be explained in part by France’s system of government, in which the president enjoys far broader powers than many of his Western peers — including the power to dissolve Parliament. As a result, he receives all the credit or all the blame whenever either is due.
“It’s a pitfall of the presidential system,” said Sudhir Hazareesingh, an expert on French politics at the University of Oxford. Hazareesingh also noted the damage done by lawmakers in Macron’s party, whom he described as “a complete set of novices.”
For many, though, it’s Macron’s personality that has done the most to alienate ordinary citizens.
In three months in power, the new head of state has been reluctant to grant interviews, preferring to deliver lengthy orations in the halls of Versailles, France’s historic seat of absolute monarchy, and such regal optics have not played well with the media or the public. Macron is more unpopular at the three-month point of his first term than any of his immediate predecessors — François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac — were at the same point, according to Ifop, the Paris-based polling firm.
Of late, any attempt by Macron to act as the “Jupiter of the Elysee,” as he has been dubbed, has run into fierce opposition. A vague proposal to make his wife, Brigitte, an “official” first lady — a title that would have come with a separate taxpayer-funded budget — was abandoned after an online petition garnered more than 300,000 signatures. Brigitte Macron told Elle Magazine in her first public interview that she would serve only in an informal capacity.
As you can see, the so-called “elite media” clearly outlined reasons why Macron’s approval number has plummeted since taking office.
Gingrich also went on to bring up several other approval numbers:
For example, British Prime Minister Theresa May earned a 34 percent satisfaction rate, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a July approval rating of 34.2 percent, and the Democratic Party in the United States received 38 percent approval in June.
Again, not sure why you’d compare an American “president’s” ratings with other world leaders, but this article wasn’t meant to be logical or make any sense. This was Gingrich desperately trying to make excuses for Trump’s failures as “president.”
And if we’re going to compare approval ratings of political parties, why not mention the GOP’s?
Oh, I know why — because in June it was five points below Democrats at 33 percent.
The truth is, however, that a particular political party’s approval numbers are never that high. The highest that same poll has had Democrats over the last 5+ years is 46 percent, while Republicans have only managed to hit an anemic 37 percent.
I’d also like to point out that the Japanese prime minister has been in power since 2012, much longer than the eight months Trump has been. Around the same time in office, Prime Minister Abe had an approval rating of 58 percent, and throughout most of his time in office his number has been above 50.
Though, as I’ve already pointed out, not only is Gingrich ignoring the context and times in office when he’s trying to make excuses for Trump’s embarrassingly low approval rating, but he’s trying to compare it to other world leaders who are judged by other standards by their citizens due to the differences in cultures as well as systems of government.
An approval rating hovering around or below 40 percent for any president isn’t a good thing. The reason why Trump’s 38 percent average (35 percent in Gallup) is so significant is because no other president in U.S. history has reached that level of futility this early into their administration. Nobody is saying these types of low approval numbers never happen, or that other world leaders don’t deal with similar issues during their time in office. What people have pointed out — factually, I might add — is that no other U.S. president has managed to have so much of the country disapproving of the job they’re doing this early into their first term in office.
In fact, Gingrich bringing up Reagan’s 35 percent rating is a great way to compare just how disastrous Trump’s time in office has been. It took Reagan his worst economic year, and an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent, before he managed to hit 35 percent in Gallup’s poll.
Yet Trump inherited a strong economy creating hundreds of thousands of jobs every month, with an unemployment rate lower than it’s been in years — and his approval numbers are equal with those of Reagan during a sluggish economy and skyrocketing unemployment.
That’s how bad Donald Trump’s been as “president.”
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