Horowitz: Trump Tanks U.S. Global Image

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


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Rob Horowitz

It is long past time for President Trump to take to heart the reality that when a United States President speaks-- whether he likes it or not-- it is not just for domestic consumption; the whole world is listening. Confidence in Trump to do the right thing in international affairs is a median of only a little more than 1-in-5, according to a recent poll of residents of 37 nations around the globe conducted by Pew Research Center. This contrasts to a median of more than 6-in-10 who had confidence in President Obama to do the right thing. This rejection of President Trump’s global leadership has already driven down the median favorability of the United States from 64% to 49%, according to the same survey.

The precipitous drop in confidence in the US President, accompanied by a marked decline in our nation’s image, is world-wide. “The share of the public with a positive view of the U.S. has plummeted in a diverse set of countries from Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa,” write the authors of the poll report.  The cratering confidence in the current US President is “especially pronounced among some of America’s closest allies in Europe and Asia, as well as neighboring Mexico and Canada,” according to Pew.  Russia and Israel are the only two countries, out of the 37 polled, where confidence in Trump exceeded confidence in Obama.

Trump’s world-wide unpopularity is a combination of a strong distaste for his perceived personal characteristics and disagreement with his policies. Summarizing the poll results, the Pew authors write, “In the eyes of most people surveyed around world the White House’s new occupant is arrogant, intolerant and even dangerous.” Additionally, overwhelming world-wide majorities disagree with Trump policies, such as withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change Agreement and restricting travel to the United States for residents of certain Muslim majority nations.

There remains a vast reservoir of good will for the American people with most people around the world still maintaining a positive view. But Trump is quickly drawing down on that hard- won capital.  Famously quoting John Winthrop, President Reagan called the United States a ‘shining city on a hill.”  Trump is rapidly taking the “shine” off.  Despite the shoulder-shrugging defenses of his media and political allies that he just communicates “differently” and is a strong “counter-puncher”, among other threadbare excuses, President Trump’s repeated un-presidential and reflexively nasty comments and tweets are having a cumulative negative effect not only here at home, but on our image internationally.  These world-wide poll results should be a wake-up call to all in Trump-world. Unfortunately, that is more a fond wish than a real hope.


Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.


Related Slideshow: RI Democrats React to Trump Withdrawing from Paris Climate Agreement

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Gina Raimondo

RI Governor

I am deeply disappointed that the President has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize that the Paris Agreement is about so much more than climate change. It’s about opportunity, stewardship and America’s standing as a global leader. 

President Trump’s action will not deter Rhode Island from taking necessary steps to address climate change. Our action at the state level will create new jobs and attract new investment in the green economy. 

We’ve set a goal to secure 1,000 MW of clean energy resources and double the number of clean energy jobs by 2020. Ocean State families and businesses are on the front lines fighting climate change. I will continue toward with the General Assembly and partners in other states to protect our environment and advance clean energy alternatives, while creating new opportunities for our workforce in the process. 

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Jim Langevin 

U.S. Congressman

President Trump’s ill-considered decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement puts the future of our entire planet at risk. The withdrawal represents an abandonment of pledges to protect our environment and risks undermining the entire accord, which includes nearly every country on earth. In addition, the President’s action cedes Unites States leadership and means losing a seat at the table to negotiate global agreements in our country's best interest.

The Obama Administration made significant progress toward slowing the rapidly warming climate by negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions on a global scale. Unwinding these commitments represents another assault by President Trump on the health of the public and the planet. His Administration continues to deny climate change despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows this is an ongoing human-caused crisis.

Rhode Island is on the front lines of sea level rise, and our citizens will ultimately pay the price for inaction today. Communities like my hometown of Warwick are particularly vulnerable to the storms and floods that come with climate change. Warming seas have chased our traditional catch out of our fisheries and threaten to decimate our beloved Ocean State coastline. Abandoning the Paris deal, the culmination of a multi-year effort by world leaders, is an abdication of our responsibility to leave the world a better place for our children.”

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Sheldon Whitehouse

U.S. Senator

“Donald Trump and his children said just a few years ago that climate change was ‘irrefutable’ and its consequences ‘catastrophic and irreversible.’ They were right. There is no denying the growing threat of rising seas, warming global temperatures, and melting glaciers and ice sheets. 

But we can still avoid the worst if we quickly reduce carbon emissions. That is why ignoring reality and leaving the Paris Agreement could do down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our nation’s history, isolating the U.S. further after Trump’s shockingly bad European trip. 

Trump is betraying the country, in the service of Breitbart fake news, the shameless fossil fuel industry, and the Koch brothers’ climate denial operation. It’s Sad. 

America’s biggest corporations and investors urged the President to stick with international efforts to address the climate threat. They and all of us will now have to proceed with a seriousness of purpose commensurate with the threat, knowing of this President’s grave defects. 

If you haven’t joined an environmental group, join one. If your voice needs to be heard, get active. If you are a big corporation with good climate policies that has shied away from engaging politically, it’s time to engage. And if you’re a university that teaches climate science, it’s time to stand up for your scientists. Whoever you are, help end climate denial and take action.”

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Jack Reed

U.S. Senator

“President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement is a blow to the environment that makes us a less secure nation. Our military, which spends every hour of every day thinking about how to protect Americans says climate change is a problem and a real threat multiplier. Indeed, climate change is an established part of the military’s threat and risk assessments.

The United States should continue to be a leader when it comes to protecting the planet; instead, the President is abdicating this responsibility. President Trump is unwisely putting the United States alongside Syria and Nicaragua in declining to be part of the Paris agreement. 

The American people deserve better.” 

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David Cicilline

U.S. Congressman

The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a terrible mistake. It will diminish American leadership in the world, undermine our ability to create good-paying jobs, and contribute to the further degradation of our environment. 

It is very disappointing that we now know, without question, that the President of the United Sates is a climate change denier. His decision today ignores the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the serious consequences failing to address climate change. 

The only thing President Trump will accomplish by this decision is to set the United States and world back decades in this fight. I have no doubt that future generations are going to wonder what the hell we were thinking today”


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