In an ideal world, the Presidency of the United States should be held by someone who reflects all that is great about our country: our freedoms, our cherished beliefs, and our diversity. The president should be someone who is, if not liked, at least respected by every other nation as a person who is both capable and deserving of his or her position as the leader of a top global superpower.
Our current president is Donald Trump. Clearly, this is not an ideal world.
For Trump, self-image has always been of paramount importance. He has always been zealously protective of his brand and his name, and even the slightest perceived insult can lead to an instant grudges and permanent disdain. For proof, one need look no farther than Trump's continued obsession with Hillary Clinton, a woman who he continues to attack on Twitter, seemingly on a daily basis, despite the fact that the election ended over a year ago and she is currently a private citizen.
And so, for a person as image-obsessive as Trump, it's critical to him that America's standing in the world is seen as having increased with him in office. This is another favorite topic of his, one he returned to in a tweet this week about Rex Tillerson, stating that, "we work well together and America is highly respected again!"
Yet like so many things stated by the current president, this is definitively untrue.
It's not recent news that America's image has suffered under Trump. When the Pew Research Center released their latest survey on the global perception of various nations and world leaders back in June, the results showed a drastic drop-off in the way other countries viewed our nation and their confidence in our president's leadership. Citizens of 37 countries were asked if they had confidence in Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs. In 35 of those countries, the percentage of people who answered positively dropped when compared to the previous survey under Obama; 31 of those drops were by double digits and 23 saw decreases of over 30%. Only two countries, Israel and Russia, showed increased confidence in Trump when compared to Obama.
As for the way the rest of the world views the U.S. as a whole, well, this chart speaks for itself:
If anything, Trump's actions since that survey was released this past summer are likely to further decrease our nation's standing in the view of our allies. Most recently, he harmed our relationship with our greatest ally, the United Kingdom, by re-tweeting three anti-Islamic propaganda videos that had been posted by the leader of Britain First, a fringe far-right nationalist group. When British Prime Minister Theresa May, a conservative who has been seen as having a positive relationship with Trump, spoke out to rebuke the president, he responded by telling her: "Don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine." (Of course the fact that more Americans were killed by one random white guy with a gun in Las Vegas a month ago than have been killed in the UK by Muslim terrorists in the last 12 years would seem to demonstrate that we aren't "fine" after all, but I digress).
Trump's re-tweets of the Britain First videos and subsequent response led to an entire session in the British House of Commons being devoted to Trump and his sharing of hateful content. During that session, the President of the United States was referred to as a "fascist" by one member. Another asked if Trump was "racist, incompetent, or unthinking." And it wasn't just the liberal Labour Party members; multiple Conservatives lambasted the president as well, with one saying Trump's Twitter account should be banned by hate speech and another referring to the man as a "twit." Many UK lawmakers are calling for Trump's eventual visit to the country to be canceled; one went as far as saying that the president should be arrested for inciting racial hatred if he does make the trip across the pond.
Think about that for a minute. This isn't a country like North Korea using this type of language about our president. It's the UK! We have a "special relationship" with them. Hell, Prince Harry is about to marry an American. And yet our president is behaving in such a deplorable manner that he has united liberals and conservatives in their disgust.
As an American, I have woken up every day of this presidency wondering how the man in the Oval Office was going to embarrass us next. Unfortunately for our country, the expectation of that embarrassment is the only thing about which Trump has been consistent. It could be posting hate-mongering videos online, the revelation that he continues to cling to the racist birther conspiracy theory, or his official endorsement of an accused pedophile and rapist because his opponent is "soft on crime." He continues to come up with new and innovative ways to embarrass himself, humiliate our citizenry, and damage our standing on the world stage.
We can only hope to start mitigating his destruction of our national prestige by retaking Congress in 2018. The damage the Trump presidency has already done to our national standing and prestige will take years to repair. The sooner the Resistance can make him a lame duck, the sooner we can do what liberals always have to do after a Republican presidency: cleaning up the mess.