6 in 10 Americans reject Trump reaction to Charlottesville — poll
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6 in 10 Americans reject Trump reaction to Charlottesville — poll

In aftermath of white supremacist rally, president's job approval sinks to one of the lowest levels of his term

People protest outside the Phoenix Convention Center as US President Donald Trump holds a rally inside, August 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt York)
People protest outside the Phoenix Convention Center as US President Donald Trump holds a rally inside, August 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Most Americans disapprove of Donald Trump’s response to the race-fueled protests and violence in Charlottesville and believe the president is dividing the country, a poll released Wednesday showed.

Trump’s job approval also sank to one of the lowest levels of his turbulent seven-month presidency, as respondents savaged his handling of racial issues following the deadly chaos that gripped the Virginia city, according to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll.

By a margin of 60 percent to 32 percent, respondents disapproved of Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville, and by a similar margin they rejected the way he has handled race relations, the survey showed.

“Elected on his strength as a deal-maker, but now overwhelmingly considered a divider, President Donald Trump has a big negative job approval rating and low scores on handling racial issues,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Since Trump’s election, hatred and prejudice in the country has increased, 65 percent of voters said, with just two percent saying it has decreased.

“One word — Charlottesville,” Malloy said.

Trump was widely criticized for using divisive language after clashes between white supremacist groups, including neo-Nazi and KKK supporters, and those opposed to them.

One woman was killed when a car driven by a suspected white supremacist plowed into a crowd of people after the rally called by far-right extremists turned violent.

People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)
People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

Trump initially failed to explicitly condemn white supremacists for their role in the rally and the bloodshed, and said there were egregious displays of bigotry “on many sides.”

He doubled down on his deeply controversial stance three days later, insisting there was “blame on both sides.”

Poll respondents, by a margin of 62 to 35 percent, said they believe Trump “does not provide the US with moral leadership,” Quinnipiac said.

The president’s approval rating slipped further underwater, with 35 percent approving and 59 percent disapproving of his performance, for a rating of minus 24. That compares with a minus 18 rating from Quinnipiac’s August 17 survey.

The poll also showed that voters trust the media more than Trump, 54–36 percent, to tell the truth about important issues.

Trump spent much of his Phoenix campaign-style rally on Tuesday bashing the media as “dishonest” and blaming them for misinterpreting his remarks about the Charlottesville violence.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted August 17 to 22 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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