WASHINGTON – Wimp? Coward? Caveman?
Those insults may have hurled at President Donald Trump after he agreed last week to reopen the federal government without getting money he requested for a border wall.
But that’s not how most of his base sees him, according to a Monmouth University Poll released Monday.
More Republicans surveyed (44 percent) said the action made Trump look stronger than the share of GOP respondents who said he looks weaker (19 percent).
And Trump’s job approval rating among Republicans has changed little from his 84 percent support in November.
“Despite what was objectively a climb-down in Trump’s position, these poll results provide more evidence that public opinion of the president has been largely baked in since day one,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Among all respondents, somewhat more said Trump’s decision made him look weaker (32 percent) than stronger (24 percent). But a plurality of 41 percent said it had no effect on how they view him.
The poll did show Trump’s support worsened among both independents and Democrats. Both groups view him more negatively than they did in November.
And half of all surveyed said Trump was primarily to blame for the unpopular shutdown.
The poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 25-27 with 805 adults. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.
Trump had said he would not restart funding unless Congress including money for a border wall. Democrats said they would not negotiate funding for a wall while the government was shut down.
When Trump agreed Friday to three more weeks of funding while both sides try to reach a deal, he received some blistering criticism from the right.
“Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States,” hard-line Republican Ann Coulter wrote on Twitter.
Mike Cernovich, a conservative blogger, said he was disgusted by Trump’s decision.
“I don’t like to be lied to,” Cernovich said in a video after Trump’s announcement. “Just say I’m not going to build the wall. I’m a coward. I don’t have what it takes.”
The New York Daily News’ front page called Trump “Caveman.”
But Trump’s action was defended by some on the right.
North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a prominent member of the House Freedom Caucus who pushed Trump in December to use agency funding as leverage for a wall, said Friday that the president “is sticking by his commitment to keep our communities safe and has assured me that nothing will deter him from accomplishing that goal.”
And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday that Coulter is in “some fantasy land.”
“The fact is, the president’s base is with the president,” Gingrich said on “Fox & Friends.” “If he goes to them and says, ‘I got this done for the wall. I got this done to protect America. I’m doing these good things you believe in,’ the base is going to say, ‘fine.'”
Coulter shot back that there are two groups of Trump voters: the “Tell the Truth” faction and the “Kiss the Emperor’s Ass camp.”
“Newt and I have picked different camps,” she tweeted.