During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump accused the press of intentionally misinterpreting his words and of being biased,[322][323] although he benefited from a record amount of free media coverage, elevating his standing in the Republican primaries.[324] After winning the election, Trump told journalist Lesley Stahl that he intentionally demeaned and discredited the media "so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you".[325] Into his presidency, much of the press coverage of Trump and his administration was negative.[326][327]
^ Jump up to: a b Yoder, Eric (February 16, 2017). "Hiring freeze could add to government's risk, GAO chief warns". The Washington Post. 'We've looked at hiring freezes in the past by prior administrations and they haven't proven to be effective in reducing costs and they cause some problems if they're in effect for a long period of time,' Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels has alleged that she and Trump had an affair in 2006,[739] which Trump denied.[740] In January 2018, it was reported that just before the 2016 presidential election Daniels was paid $130,000 by Trump's attorney Michael Cohen as part of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA); Cohen later said he paid her with his own money.[741] In February 2018, Daniels sued Cohen's company asking to be released from the NDA and be allowed to tell her story. Cohen obtained a restraining order to keep her from discussing the case.[742][743] In March, Daniels claimed in court that the NDA never came into effect because Trump did not sign it personally.[744] In April, Trump said that he did not know about Cohen paying Daniels, why Cohen had made the payment or where Cohen got the money from.[745] In May, Trump's annual financial disclosure revealed that he reimbursed Cohen in 2017 for payments related to Daniels.[746] In August 2018, in a case brought by the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York,[747] Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court to breaking campaign finance laws, admitting to paying hush money of $130,000 to Daniels and $150,000 indirectly to Playboy model Karen McDougal, and said that he did it at the direction of Trump,[748][749] with the aim of influencing the presidential election.[750] In response, Trump said that he only knew about the payments "later on", and that he paid back Cohen personally, not out of campaign funds.[751] Cohen also said he would cooperate fully with the Special Counsel investigation into collusion with Russia.[752]
The president on Tuesday announced his intention to seek reelection, and 44% of all Likely U.S. Voters say they would be more likely to vote for him if they had to vote now. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and  online survey finds that slightly more (47%) are more likely to opt for the Democratic nominee who opposes him, while nine percent (9%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Trump said he was "not sure" whether he ever asked God for forgiveness, stating "If I do something wrong, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture." He said he tries to take Holy Communion as often as possible because it makes him "feel cleansed".[55] While campaigning, Trump referred to The Art of the Deal as his second favorite book after the Bible, saying, "Nothing beats the Bible."[65] The New York Times reported that evangelical Christians nationwide thought "that his heart was in the right place, that his intentions for the country were pure."[66]
Trump rejects the scientific consensus on climate change[528][529] and his former Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, does not believe that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming. While admitting that the climate is warming, Pruitt believes that warming is not necessarily harmful and could be beneficial.[530] Based on numerous studies, climate experts disagree with his position.[531] On June 1, 2017, Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, making the U.S. the only nation in the world to not ratify the agreement.[532][533][534]
Trump rejects the scientific consensus on climate change[528][529] and his former Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, does not believe that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming. While admitting that the climate is warming, Pruitt believes that warming is not necessarily harmful and could be beneficial.[530] Based on numerous studies, climate experts disagree with his position.[531] On June 1, 2017, Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, making the U.S. the only nation in the world to not ratify the agreement.[532][533][534]
For much of the country, the situation at the border posed a moral crisis. But for the Trump campaign, the quandary was political. Immigration was not only a Trumpian rhetorical staple—Build the Wall! Mexico Will Pay For It!—but mostly a winning issue for the G.O.P. Now, the news that the United States government had forcibly separated as many as 2,000 children from their families, a number of them with little hope of ever being re-united, was a bridge Republicans weren’t willing to cross with Trump. Michael Hayden, C.I.A. director under George W. Bush, compared the detention camps to Auschwitz. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell privately told Trump he would “go down big on the issue,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. And so, Trump, who prides himself on an umbilical connection to his base, did the most un-Trumpian of things: he blinked. As the furor over child separations intensified, and with the midterms looming and Robert Mueller circling ever closer, the stakes were existential. “He felt trapped,” recalled a Republican who spoke with the president during the deliberations. Walk the policy back, and he risked angering his hard-line anti-immigration base; dig in and it would further galvanize Democrats and independents to vote against Republicans in November, likely tilting the House, and possibly even the Senate, in their favor, and facilitating the possibility of an impeachment trial. “This election is very simple,” Steve Bannon told me recently. “It’s an up-or-down vote on impeachment.”
Pence’s political brain is a 36-year-old operative named Nick Ayers. During his meteoric rise to the top echelon of Republican strategists, Ayers developed a reputation as something of a Georgia-born Sammy Glick that left him with powerful enemies, including his colleagues in the West Wing. “Everybody knows Nick is not loyal to the president,” an administration official told me. “Trump thinks Nick is a backstabber. He does not trust him at all.” In August 2017, the Times reported that Ayers and Pence adviser Marty Obst were privately courting G.O.P. donors for a possible Pence run in 2020. Trump became furious this past April when he learned that Ayers had persuaded Pence to recruit a pollster named Jon Lerner to join the V.P.’s staff. According to a source briefed on the conversations, Kellyanne Conway told Trump that Lerner was a Never Trumper who’d once worked for Paul Singer, the G.O.P. mega-donor who funded the conservative politics website Free Beacon, which commissioned the oppo research firm that later produced the infamous Christopher Steele dossier. “Why would Mike do that?” Trump reportedly asked advisers. Lerner backed out of the job.
Some experts have also expressed concerns about his cognitive health, as described in a lengthy investigation by Stat, a respected health and science site, earlier this year. Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet can act to remove an incapacitated president. Given the current cast, this isn't going to happen, especially since Trump would contest it.
His political positions have been described as populist,[398][399][400] and some of his views cross party lines. For example, his economic campaign plan calls for large reductions in income taxes and deregulation,[401] consistent with Republican Party policies, along with significant infrastructure investment,[402] usually considered a Democratic Party policy.[403][404] According to political writer Jack Shafer, Trump may be a "fairly conventional American populist when it comes to his policy views", but he attracts free media attention, sometimes by making outrageous comments.[405][406]
The logic underpinning a second Trump victory isn’t only a paranoid Democratic fantasy. “Democrats should be very, very worried,” Dan Pfeiffer, Barack Obama’s former communications director, told me recently. “We have more voters than they do, but we can only win if we get them out. Complacency hurt Democrats last time because we assumed Trump would lose.”
Trump University was a for-profit education company that was founded by Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny. The company ran a real estate training program and charged between $1,500 and $35,000 per course.[206][207][208] In 2005, New York State authorities notified the operation that its use of the word "university" was misleading and violated state law. After a second such notification in 2010, the name of the company was changed to the "Trump Entrepreneurial Institute".[209] Trump was also found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license for the operation.[210]
Finally, there is the president’s own policies, which could help trigger an economic crisis. Getting into an all-out trade war with China, the second largest economy in the world, is a risky move that could help blow up the global economy, economists say. The Trump administration has also deregulated the financial sector and passed a tax bill that “overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality,” according to a United Nations report from June. These tax cuts did help juice the economy, but the stimulating effects will run out by 2020, which could then result in a recession (not particularly good timing for the man who signed the bill).
Presidential approval ratings have shown Trump to be the least popular President in the history of modern opinion polling as of the start of his second year in office.[11][12][13][14] Early polls have shown Trump trailing by a margin of 10–18 percent against several hypothetical Democratic candidates, including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand.[15] International observers point out that Presidential job approval is highly partisan: "The Republican Party is Donald Trump's party. ... [Recent] polling - which shows the president with near record levels of backing from Republican voters - confirms the fact." [42] Gallup polling data shows that job approval for Donald Trump is 80 to 90 percent among Republicans versus only 5 to 10 percent among Democrats.[43] The reverse was the case for Barack Obama[44]
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