Republicans who criticize President Trump often drop their objections pretty quickly in the face of public backlash. And while the outrage over President Trump’s performance in Helsinki was louder than the typical Trump administration controversy, Republicans appear to have already fallen in line behind the leader of their party.
And if there were any doubt left as to why (poll after poll shows that President Trump remains overwhelmingly popular among Republicans and his support has been climbing among independents), a recent Axios/SurveyMonkey survey once again affirmed that Trump’s supporters have his back, come hell or high water.
As the graphic below shows, Republicans overwhelmingly approved of President Trump’s performance in Helsinki: 79% “totally approve” of Trump’s performance, and apparently haven’t been persuaded by James Comey and his ilk’s cries that Trump elevated a Russian President over Trump’s own intelligence agencies.
This is in keeping with polling showing that a similarly wide majority of Republicans view the issue of Russian election interference as a distraction (while the vast majority of Dems see it as a serious issue). Earlier, we pointed out that a recent Gallup poll showed only 1% of Americans see the “Russia problem” as the biggest issue facing the US.
According to Axios, this poll is a clear foreshadowing of the national drama that could unfold after the midterms, as some elements within the Republican party will inevitably search for a third candidate to challenge the president. That effort is almost certainly bound to fail, as Trump’s grip on the party remains unassailable. And that probably won’t change, even if Trump were to shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue, as he famously boasted during the campaign.