With Friday’s inauguration, billionaire Donald Trump becomes the nation’s 45th president. The New York billionaire defied expectations to first win the Republican nomination and then defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Donald Trump took the oath of office as president today. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Recent polls indicate Trump’s favorable ratings among Americans are lower than any new president in at least decades. According to Gallup, Trump’s current favorable rating—40 percent—compares with 78 percent for Barack Obama before his inauguration in 2009, 62 percent for George W. Bush and 66 percent for Bill Clinton.
Results of this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll on the prospects for Trump’s presidency align closely with the national poll ratings. Thirty-nine percent of Snap Poll respondents think Trump will do an excellent or good job as president; by contrast, 61 percent think he will do a poor or fair job—and of those, most picked “poor.”
Trump has set a number of far-reaching goals for his first 100 days in office. Among them: repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act; enacting an economic plan to grow the economy 4 percent per year through tax reduction and simplification, regulatory relief and trade reform; action to renegotiate or withdraw from NAFTA and withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership; lifting of restrictions on energy development; selection of a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico; starting the deportation of “more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants” and suspension of immigration from “terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur.”
Meanwhile, confirmation hearings for Trump’s Cabinet continue. Among his key nominees are Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary, Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general, banker and hedge fund manager Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary, and Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
Asked about Trump’s choices to fill Cabinet-level positions, 58 percent of respondents rated them fair or poor.
Nearly 1,200 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Jan. 16 and 17.
What are your current expectations for Donald Trump’s presidency?
He will do an excellent job 20%
He will do a good job 19%
He will do a fair job 12%
He will do a poor job 49%
How confident are you that Trump will be able to achieve 4 percent annual growth in the economy?
Very confident 17%
Somewhat confident 26%
Not very confident 19%
Not at all confident 38%
Overall, how would you rate Trump’s choices to fill Cabinet-level positions in his new administration?
What is your political affiliation?
I have said for many years we need a business person running the business of government. Politicians generally only care about being re-elected. Trump does not have the hands of special interest groups, lobbyists and politicians in his pocket looking for handouts. I am optimistic about his term as POTUS and glad to give him the chance.
—Gary M. Baker, CEO, Cochran Cochran &Yale
Trump has done absolutely nothing during the campaign nor since his election that gives me an ounce of confidence in his ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the presidency. Over the years there have been other presidents with whom I have disagreed. Never before have I been genuinely fearful for the safety of our country.
His behavior since the election has been bizarre and an embarrassment to our country. He has effectively alienated our European allies with his “NATO is obsolete” position, while defending our adversary Putin, whom he loves, attempted to muzzle the press and insulted the intelligence community. His cabinet includes a racist, a misogynist and a Putinist. It is not far-fetched to believe that Putin has some kompromat (compromising material) on him. He’s a train wreck taking our country for a disastrous ride.
I don’t believe he will last four years; I do believe that his Cabinet will see early resignations based on his management style, once the reasonable nominees push back on his directives. I expect he will be sunk by controversy and conflicts of interest, and that the Republican Congress will be very hard pressed to present constructive, viable alternatives to the programs and policies they are intent on undoing.
Give him a chance. It will not be easy because some in Congress have already committed to trying to block his agenda. But it should not be too difficult to exceed the progress over the last eight years. He may even surprise our local union leaders.
Stifling trade will cost jobs in the long run. Undermining NATO is foolhardy. Hard to see how he will get GOP in Congress to accept big deficits to finance (needed) infrastructure upgrades or his health care promises (cover everyone with better plans at lower cost). Given rising costs and shrinking corporate coverage, we may see single payer if they can’t work something out. I expect perpetual multiple controversies, public fatigue and Congress to begin ignoring him. Who will emerge as de facto leader of the West in the vacuum?
—Bill Murphy, retired
So far, so good. Get rid of Clinton is a good start. Stock market is looking up. Cabinet appointments in line with good business and military strength. If he stacks the Supreme Court and washes away Obamacare, the country will be looking up. Now if he lets the world know the USA is still the greatest country to live in and we are not ashamed to be a superpower, we will be better off in Trump’s first 100 days than we were after eight years of Obama.
Donald Trump is filling the swamp with billionaires who have not demonstrated any care or concern for the middle or lower classes in the USA. I am also extremely concerned about his business interests, which he has not adequately separated himself from. He will jeopardize the existence of our democratic ideals for his self-interests!
I expect President Trump to work as hard as he can on all the things he promised. He has picked a great cabinet of “disrupters” to help him accomplish all his objectives. Trump is a world class deal maker (he wrote the book, “The Art of the Deal”) and has already shown his prowess from the bully pulpit with Carrier and Ford. We’ve had enough failed socialist solutions. We need free market capitalist solutions. We need free market capitalist solutions for health care (not ObamaScare), the public school system, (Charter Schools and school vouchers), the border with Mexico, NAFTA, Trans-Pacific Partnership, replacing Judge Anton Scalia, the Iranian agreement and better relations with Israel for starters.
—Clifford Jacobson, M.D., Vanguard Psychiatric Services PC
I expect him to devalue the office of president more than any other president in our country’s history. He is a narcissistic egomaniac who simply does not have the temperament to be president. I expect him to be a disaster and pray his propensity to strike back anytime he is criticized will not lead to a crisis. The tweets have got to stop—he’s like a child.
Trump is an evil man and an existential threat to our democracy. The nation that would elect him as its president deserves the consequences.
Trump’s battle with US intelligence, antagonist behavior, and immaturity scares me. As for his cabinet picks, he’s putting the arsonists in charge of the fire department in true cronyism. In a recent study, research shows that 2.6 million Americans will lose their jobs with the repeal of Obamacare. So much for building jobs and the economy.
—R. Banker, Penfield
We hope for the best and know that our democracy will endure. Have no concerns about the economy, but we have elected a vulgar man who lacks the reverence and dignity of the office and is the antithesis of our Judeo-Christian values. The vast majority of your readers will not be negatively impacted by this president—it is our humanity and our moral obligations to our families and fellow man which will be harmed.
—Michael L. Harf
I expect Trump will lead from the front, not the back. I hope he undoes the terrible deals Obama and his JV team saddled us with. I expect we will return to solid economic growth and the U.S. will rise again to a status of respect in the world. If he keeps his campaign promises we will all be much better off.
—George Thomas, Ogden
Donald will care about improving things rapidly because he cares about economic growth and trade negotiations, illegal immigration and law enforcement, reducing terrorism, and helping people who have not been helped by the Democratic Party. He will probably continue to retaliate against personal attacks from other people, but he should consider using four positive statements and one positive recommended redirection toward the appropriate goal. Retaliation has support from political scientists, but positive approaches have support from psychologists and sociologists. He will probably use a greater sense of urgency and an indicative mood when time is scarce (as is often the case in political, business, and military decisions) and will hopefully use a greater sense of carefulness and a subjunctive mood when time is not scarce (as is often the case in scientific and space exploration decisions).
—Chuck Masick, mit (magic institute of tutoring),
He won’t accomplish any of the three by the 100 days or 500 days or 1000 days.
Hopefully he will reduce his Twitter sends and use it only when the time is appropriate. Painful to see the exchanges between him and other groups. The Cabinet is different than what a “career politician” would choose, so we are all in a wait and see. So far his exchanges with the American public and foreign leaders have not impressed me, but I am glad to see discussion around the economy and how to improve. At a minimum he will bring different ideas that could have a positive impact for most. All in all, I hope he finds some balance between the conservatives and progressives as he moves into office (notice I am saying “hope” a lot).
Trump is a fascist. He is a narcissistic bully. He is a racist, a bigot, a misogynist. He is anti-gay, anti-Jew, anti-Muslin, anti-black and anti-Hispanic. He is anti-immigrant and he has made fun of the disabled. How in the hell this fool and a joke of a man-child became president only the Russians will know. He disgusts me and there is no way in hell he will do what he should for ALL Americans. He cares only about himself. He doesn’t even care about the 1% of wealthiest Americans. I loathe him and I hope that karma becomes his *itch in very short order.
—M. Curtain, Rochester
Holding out hope that he will be a good president ... not very confident, but at least he is an outsider so maybe there is a chance.
—Kenya Burn-Moore, Rochester
RBJ, you failed to print a category in the opinion choice column: Unmitigated Disaster. His agenda is to strip of us decency, democracy, humanity, freedom, civil rights, morality, the Constitution, birth control, health care, security, etc. Watch out women: He intends to grab you by the pussy and then throw you out like so much garbage. RESISTANCE!
—Eve Elzenga, Eve Elzenga Design
Trump’s only limitation will be to old tired politicians in Congress, both Democrat and Republician.
—Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield
Many of Trump’s “programs” would seem to be joke if they didn’t affect many Americans so deeply. As our first Narcissist-President, Trump seems to have little understanding of how to benefit Americans, or anyone other than himself. While I think he should be given a chance, his early choices are strikingly inept. As for his fantasy “wall,” if he should ever build it, there would be more damage than help. Many producers in our agricultural region rely on low-cost labor from nations to the South for their survival. Of course, immigration needs to be reformed, but such a waste of our (not Mexico’s) money would be a ham-handed approach to a complex problem. Many such migrants are escaping chaos, poverty and even terror initiated decades ago in their native countries by U.S. interests.
—Gary Bogue, independent consultant
For the first time, since starting with Dwight Eisenhower, I did not vote for either the Republican candidate or the Democrat candidate.
Buckle your safety belts folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Trump will benefit all his rich oligarchy buddies, make deals with our enemy for oil that will personally benefit him, boost multinational deals in the energy industry, while denuding the country of the advances in health care and civil rights, all the while using his bully pulpit to... well.... bully everyone. He will continue to manipulate the media by making lots of noise about things over HERE while he more quietly makes money and cheats everyone and reduces our civil rights OVER THERE under cover of distraction. At some point people will realize they’re not better off than they were before, but the rich people are even more rich. At which point we’ll see a huge groundswell of populist more empathetic support for a candidate that actually represents the common man rather than pretending to represent them. The only questions will be - will that take just 4 years or 8 and will there be a depression and bread lines before it happens. If you don’t believe me go read about Soviet Russia, the USSR and it’s breakup, pre-world war 2 Germany, or any of a number of other societies briefly swept by fascism. History repeats itself.
—Lee Drake, CEO, OS-Cubed, Inc.
Running the country based on the thousands of policy statements out there hasn’t worked for at least eight years, more likely the last 24 years. Running the country based on common sense and real world experience is a real change, and very exciting. We might just start to see some stuff get done for a change!
—Joeseph Fabetes, Rochester
He will have his hands full in the first years just reversing the Obama disaster. He has assembled a terrific group of advisers and cabinet officers, which says something about him. He will be nitpicked by Dems every step because they are afraid that he will succeed and the hollowness of leftist policies will be exposed.
I still contend that Donald had no expectation to win the Republican nomination ... and the presidency. I believe he ran to prop up the Trump brand, by getting the free press that followed his presidential run. The tricks he used as a private citizen will not work, as the rules are stacked against him. He will not be able to trick contractors into taking pennies on the dollar or declare bankruptcy six times to avoid debt. In three days he will actually start coming out with actual ideas ... that are “terrific”, rather than talk about the plans he WILL have that are terrific. I expect that Donald will go down as either greatest president or the absolute worst. I am expecting him to be the absolute worst... so he should be able to beat my expectations.
Hopefully Trump will reverse the soft Marxist momentum that Obama created which has set back the United States significantly. The key is the reduction of taxes, reduction of needless regulations, enforcement of immigration laws including eliminating sanctuary cities, unleashing the energy sector, repealing/replacement of Obamacare, increasing military strength, decreasing the size of governmental agencies/departments, etc.
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