Accuracy in Media

Since news broke of President Donald Trump’s controversial phone call with the president of Ukraine, his approval ratings on the Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll have fluctuated between 45 and 50 percent – where they have been for much of his term.

Democrats continue to investigate the call and other matters, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has no plans to hold a vote on impeachment of the president and there appears to be little pressure on her to do so. Trump has at least 90 percent of his party behind him and a record – by a long shot – third-quarter fundraising haul to bolster the efforts of him and other Republicans as the 2020 campaign season begins to heat up.

He is widely credited with forcing Louisiana’s Democrat governor into a runoff with an appearance there in recent weeks and drew more than 50,000 people to a rally in Dallas last week. His worst problem – Democrat control of the House – may disappear in 2020 as Republicans reclaim districts that Trump won in 2016 but Democrats took in 2018, a growing probe of Democrat wrongdoing in the 2016 election and party infighting causes others to fall.

But according to the Washington Post, Trump, “whose paramount concern long has been showing strength, has entered the most challenging stretch of his term, weakened on virtually every front and in danger of being forced from office as the impeachment inquiry intensifies.”

That’s the verdict of Philip Rucker of the Washington Post in the story, “Trump’s season of weakness: A president who prizes strength enters key stretch in a fragile state.”

Rucker made his case in the second paragraph.

“Trump now finds himself mired in a season of weakness. Foreign leaders feel emboldened to reject his pleas or to contradict him. Officials inside his administration are openly defying his wishes by participating in the impeachment probe. Federal courts have ruled against him. Republican lawmakers are criticizing him. He has lost control over major conservative media organs. Polling shows that Americans increasingly disapprove of his job performance and support his impeachment.”

One can assume the foreign leaders Rucker refers to is principally Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey. Erdogan warned the U.S. it planned to carve out a 10-mile long, 285-mile wide buffer zone between Turkey and Syria and that the 50 or so U.S. troops operating in that area should move to avoid the attack. Trump agreed to move them – the option was a full-on war against a NATO ally over land of no significance to the U.S. 6,000 miles away.

Three days later – after Trump had threatened to destroy Turkey’s economy – a cease fire was announced that would lead to the end of the conflict and joint efforts to “defeat ISIS activities in northeast Syria.”

Trump has acquiesced to disgruntled State Department officials appearing before Congress because he has rightfully identified they have nothing incriminating to say to the committees, a key Republican congressman has said. A federal court did rule against Trump in allowing a previously stalled emoluments lawsuit to move forward, but Trump prevailed in a key immigration case that allows the administration to bar asylum for migrants who passed through another safe country en route to the U.S. in keeping with international law.

Rucker contrasted Trump’s handling of the prospect of impeachment with Bill Clinton’s.

“Clinton’s strategy then was to show the American people that he was focused on doing his job as president and was not distracted by the proceedings on Capitol Hill, much as they gnawed at him,” Rucker wrote.

“Clinton paid particular attention to foreign affairs, striving to fortify alliances, whereas Trump strained alliances with his Syria decision and, in the estimation of critics, got played by Erdogan,” he wrote.

He then quotes, as an authority, Terry McAuliffe, a fundraiser for the Clintons and former governor of Virginia. “’What people loved about Clinton is they knew he was getting out of bed every day to fight for them … Here Trump gets out of bed every day and does angry tweets. It’s totally different.’”

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