President Donald Trump’s job approval rating plunged 4 percentage points last week amid a wave of violence, the latest troubling signal for Republican chances in upcoming midterm elections.
Forty percent of Americans approved of Trump’s performance as commander in chief, according to Gallup polling during the week ending Oct. 28. That was down from 44% the prior week, an unusually steep decline for the poll, which is based on a survey of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Monday through Sunday each week.
Some of the polling was done before the attacks. The drop was the sharpest since June 24—when Trump’s weekly job approval declined to 41% from 45% the previous week—amid controversy over his administration’s policy of separating families apprehended illegally crossing the U.S. border with Mexico.
A series of mail bombs to prominent Trump critics and a deadly attack at a Pennsylvania synagogue have stirred criticism of the president’s polarizing rhetoric, especially as the November midterm elections approach. Trump has in turn blamed the news media for fomenting public anger and on Monday revived his characterization of the press as the “Enemy of the People.”
“The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly,” Trump said in tweet.
An attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh during Saturday services left 11 people dead, many of them elderly, in what’s being investigated as a hate crime by a suspect who allegedly posted on social media blaming a Jewish nonprofit that helps resettle refugees for bringing “invaders in that kill our people.”
Trump and his wife will travel to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to visit with families of victims, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
On Friday, a Florida man known to have attended Trump campaign events was charged in connection with mailing at least 13 suspected explosive devices that targeted high-profile Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Two packages were addressed to former U.S. intelligence officials John O. Brennan and James Clapper at the New York headquarters of CNN, for which Clapper is now an analyst.
Trump has held a series of rallies for Republican House and Senate candidates across the country in recent weeks. White House officials, however, are largely resigned to losing Republican control of the House, and the mood around the president has darkened as many challengers continue to out-raise seasoned Republican incumbents, and Democratic enthusiasm surpasses that of the GOP.