President Donald Trump’s lagging approval ratings received a much-needed boost in the days following his tough talk last week regarding North Korea and that nation’s escalating nuclear ambitions.
Trump’s approval ratings had festered in the low 30s throughout a wide array of polls in July and into August as controversies surrounding the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections have continued to cloud his administration.
But in the days following Trump’s Tuesday warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un that further aggression from the country would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” the president’s approval rating shot up to 45 percent, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll. Just one week beforehand, only 39 percent of voters approved of Trump’s job performance.
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“The president has made it very clear to the North Korean regime how America will respond if certain actions are taken,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We are hopeful that the leader of that country will understand [Trump’s words] in precisely the way they are intended, to permit him a place to get where we can get the nuclear weapons off the peninsula. It’s that straightforward.”
The Rasmussen Reports poll also found that 63 percent of likely voters believe the U.S. most likely will engage in military action against the belligerent North Korea during the next six months. In addition, 75 percent of likely voters agree with Trump that the North Korea situation poses a serious national security interest for U.S. officials.
Last week, Kim threatened to launch a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. In response, Trump tweeted Friday that “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong-Un will find another path!”
Although Trump’s increasingly harsh rhetoric was met with consternation and criticism from many in the mainstream media and the Left, his no-nonsense and focused leadership approach has won him praise as well.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster also defended Trump’s harsh rhetoric, saying on ABC News’ “This Week” that the president “made clear that the United States will not tolerate our citizens or our allies being threatened by this rogue regime.” McMaster also echoed Trump’s insistence that the U.S. “is always locked and loaded” and will utilize its “tremendous military capabilities” if necessary.
“And I think there’s a much greater danger if there were — if there were to be any kind of degree of ambiguity in connection with the kind of response that Kim Jong-Un could expect if he were to threaten the United States or our allies,” McMaster said. “Our response is we are prepared militarily to deal with this if necessary.”
“But we’re taking all possible actions short of military action to resolve this very grave threat to the United States and the world,” he added as he reassured “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos that Trump’s approach to dealing with North Korea is nuanced and multi-faceted. “And that includes a very, a very determined diplomatic effort led by our secretary of state. And it also includes increasing sanctions, increasing pressure on the north, to convince Kim Jong-Un that this is not in his interest to continue this path of provocation and escalatory actions.”
According to McMaster, former President Barack Obama’s leadership efforts failed to contain the threat that North Korea posed to the U.S. and sufficiently pressure allies such as China and Russia to throw their effort behind dissuading Kim from pursuing his aggressive path.
“So the difference between then and now is, the danger is much greater and is growing every day, with every missile test, with the consideration of possibly a sixth nuclear test,” McMaster said. “What we can no longer do is afford to procrastinate, and President Trump has made it very clear he cannot tolerate, will not tolerate, a threat to the United States from North Korea involving nuclear weapons.”
Noting that “this administration has made our policy very clear” and has “engaged the world to support that policy,” Pompeo said that “the reaction in North Korea that we are intending to get is an understanding that America is no longer going to have the strategic patience that attached, that has permitted [Kim] to continue to develop his weapons program. It’s that straightforward.”
Although Trump has ramped up the rhetoric as North Korea’s belligerence continues to escalate, Pompeo said that a nuclear showdown is not “imminent.”
“There’s nothing imminent today. But make no mistake about it, the continuation, the increased chance that there will be a nuclear missile in Denver is a very serious threat and the administration is going to treat [it] as such,” Pompeo said, adding that “I’ve seen no intelligence that would indicate that we’re in that place today.”
(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore)