Just ten days before President-elect Donald Trump is handed the keys to the White House and the nation’s nuclear weapons code, more than half of voters fret that he is too impulsive to make level-headed decisions for the country according to a revealing new survey.
After being treated to the spectacle of a Republican president in waiting virtually dominating the world stage, discrediting the U.S. intelligence community’s findings about Russian interference with the election, intimidating car manufacturers, filling his new Cabinet with business moguls, and even bad-mouthing legendary Hollywood star Meryl Streep, Americans are largely on edge as the Jan. 20 inauguration fast approaches.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans said that when it comes to making important decisions, Trump will be “too impulsive,” while 34 percent think he will be “about right” and a mere four percent think he will be “too cautious,” according to a new Pew Research Center poll released on Tuesday, the day before Trump holds his first full-blown news conference since late July.
It’s no surprise that voters continue to be troubled by his demeanor, in light of his frequent outbursts and petulant comments. Long after his stunning defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election, Trump continues to use Twitter to hurl biting, 140-character darts at critics, opponents and even GOP allies at times.
Throughout the campaign, voters voiced concerns about Trump’s temperament, even as many were drawn to his policies and promises. Last October, for example, 69 percent of voters surveyed characterized Trump as “reckless” while 65 percent said he had “poor judgment.”
In the latest Pew survey conducted nationally Jan. 4 through 9, Americans as a whole continued to worry about his temperament, although Republicans are obviously far more trusting of Trump to behave properly than Democrats.
Overall, 65 percent of Republicans said they think Trump’s approach to making important decisions will be about right, according to Pew, while 28 percent fear he will be too impulsive. By contrast, an overwhelming 84 percent of Democrats are convinced Trump will be too impulsive, and just nine percent think his approach and style will be about right.
Trump is certain to be peppered by reporters today on a multitude of questions, including how he and family members who will either be handling his business interests or advising him in Washington can avoid major conflicts of interest. Just this week, Trump announced that he is hiring his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a real estate businessman in his own right, as a senior adviser in the West Wing.
CNN reported late Tuesday that classified documents presented last week to President Obama and Trump included allegations that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” Trump is certain to be questioned at length about the controversy over Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
Reporters also are likely to press Trump to explain precisely what he has in store for the country in terms of new immigration policy and a crackdown on illegal immigrants, big changes in the health care system, new trade policies and his plans for beefing up U.S. defenses and the nuclear arsenal. Many Americans are keenly interested in what Trump will have to say about these and other issues, according to the new survey.
Americans disapprove of the job Trump has done since the election in explaining his future plans, with 55 percent saying they disapprove and 39 percent saying they approve, according to the Pew survey.
There is also widespread concern about Trump’s potential conflicts of interest in running the country while his family-owned businesses, hotels, and country clubs could be helped or by future government tax and regulatory policies. Fifty-seven percent of those interviewed said they are very or somewhat worried about conflicts of interest, according to Pew, while 42 percent indicated they were not particularly concerned.
Some 60 percent said that Trump has a responsibility to release his tax returns, a move that would give the public insight into his business dealing in the U.S. and overseas and determine whether he was honest in boasting of making generous charitable contributions. Thirty-three percent said they didn’t think Trump was obliged to release his tax returns. Trump has insisted that he is unable to release his tax returns because they are the subject of an IRS audit. The president-elect’s critics say that is a bogus excuse and that he could release the returns if he wanted to.
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times: