The following column by Chris Cillizza was posted on the Washington Post website February 3, 2017:
One of the hallmarks of Donald Trump’s 14-day-old presidency is speed. The 45th president of the United States was fond of saying on the campaign trail that most politicians did too little and that he would be a man of action if he got into the White House. It was — and is — a point of pride for him.
“The administration has already racked up more than 60 significant actions,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer boasted at Friday’s news briefing, noting that the total included “21 executive actions, 16 meetings with foreign leaders and 10 stakeholder meetings.”
It’s clear that Trump views his willingness to make decisions — and fast — as a major feather in his cap. No dawdling for this president. Just making good on his campaign promises and being tough — I mean, cordial — with foreign leaders. It’s part and parcel of his brand.
The speed of the early days of the Trump administration sits less well with the average American, according to new numbers from Gallup. Almost half (47 percent) of those polled said that Trump is “moving too fast to address the major problems facing the country today.” Thirty-five percent said Trump is moving at the right speed, and 10 percent said he isn’t moving fast enough.
Those numbers are a significant break from how people rated the pace of the early days of the Obama administration. Back in January 2009, a Gallup poll showed that more than 6 in 10 respondents said Obama was moving at the right speed to address the country’s problems, while 22 percent said he was moving too fast, and 10 percent thought he was going too slow.
Dig into the numbers and the explanation for the discrepancy is clear: polarization and partisanship. (Yes, if you’re paying attention, that’s the explanation for almost everything in politics.) In 2009, less than half of Republicans (45 percent) said Obama was moving too fast. In the 2017 Gallup poll, 73 percent of Democrats say Trump is moving too fast.
Some (much?) of the Democrats’ discontent may be rooted in the sorts of actions Trump is taking (the Muslim-related travel ban, moving to repeal Obamacare) as opposed to how quickly he is moving. By the same token, the overwhelming Republican support for Trump’s early pace is rooted in broad support for the moves he is making: More than 8 in 10 Republicans support Trump’s temporary suspension of all visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries and back his efforts to build a wall along the southern border of the United States.
The Gallup numbers reflect what is obvious to anyone paying attention to these first few weeks of the Trump presidency: He has quickly moved to implement a number of promises he made on the campaign trail, a strategy that has cheered Republicans and convinced Democrats that he represents a fundamental threat to their vision for America.
It’s hard to imagine these Gallup numbers will give President Trump much pause. He quite clearly believes he was elected to blow up the conventional power system in Washington and has systematically sought out ways to do so since coming into the White House. I can’t see him stopping now — polls, for once, be damned.
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