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Only 29% of Americans think Trump is respected in the world


Respect is a big deal to Donald Trump, who likes to cut a macho figure in the public arena and who frequently criticized his predecessor in office for failing to be respected by foreign leaders. The American public, however, believes that it’s Trump himself who doesn’t inspire respect. Indeed, a new Gallup poll shows that by a stunning 29-67 margin, Americans think foreign leaders don’t have much respect for Trump.

That’s dramatically worse than Americans’ assessment of the state of American leadership under either Barack Obama or George W. Bush.


Obama did fall off that 67 percent high, but Gallup reports that last year 45 percent of Americans felt he was respected by foreign leaders — still far higher than Trump’s honeymoon rating.

One could try to say this is just so much the worse for the foreign leaders. But Trump himself has repeatedly called out an ability to inspire respect in the eyes of foreign governments as a key presidential attribute.

This spring, he slammed Obama as not respected by Cuban leadership.

In February, he said the problem with Obama’s anti-ISIS campaign was that Obama didn’t inspire respect.

Back in June 2015, he suggested that a lack of respect from Chinese leadership was a problem.

And of course, in 2014 (and on many other occasions) he indicated that a desire for respect drove his thinking about Russia.

Indeed, Putin’s alleged lack of respect for Obama is a drum Trump has been beating for years.

Trump’s actual foreign policy thus far has largely consisted of gaffe-filled telephone calls, but he did make one substantive gesture — trying to use Taiwanese independence as a bargaining chip to secure trade concessions from China. Pretty much everyone warned Trump that this wouldn’t work, and this morning the White House conceded as much and agreed that it will back the “One China” policy as a precondition for talks rather than in exchange for anything.

Admitting that his bluff was dumb is a better idea than sending US-China relations into a downward spiral. But opening your foreign policy with a series of dumb bluffs followed by folding isn’t a great way to command respect.

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