Trump Is One of the Worst Leaders on Earth, According to the Rest of the World

The failed U.S. response to the pandemic has absolutely trashed the nation's standing among its allies.
September 16, 2020, 1:46pm
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

People in more than a dozen countries around the world have virtually no confidence in Donald Trump, and believe the U.S. has royally screwed up its coronavirus response, according to a Pew survey of American-allied countries around the globe.

In some countries that are closely allied with the United States, such as the United Kingdom, confidence is the lowest it’s ever been (41%). In others, such as France and Germany, only around 25% of respondents have confidence in the U.S., matching the country’s poor global standing in March 2003, when the United States invaded Iraq. 

In all but one of the 13 countries included in the survey—which includes countries from western Europe and east Asia, as well as Australia and Canada—a clear majority have an unfavorable view of the United States. Among those 13 countries, just 16% of those surveyed expressed confidence in Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs, as opposed to 83% who did not have confidence in him to do that. Just 34% of those surveyed held a favorable view of the United States in general. 

The only country that did not hold an unfavorable view of the U.S. is South Korea, with which Trump has attempted to broker a deal to end long standing tensions with North Korea. Fifty-nine percent of those polled hold a favorable view of the United States, but just 17% have confidence in Trump, down drastically from 46% last year. By comparison, South Korea’s confidence in former U.S. President Barack Obama in South Korea was at 88% toward the end of his term in office. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly attacked Trump’s foreign policy and relationship with the governments of allied countries, and promised to restore America’s standing around the globe. 

Trump has “recklessly and routinely taken a battering ram to the pillars of America’s democracy — repeatedly attacking our institutions and values — amplified racist hatred for his own political ends, and traded the friendship of our democratic allies for photo ops with authoritarians and dictators,” Biden said in a statement on Tuesday, in commemoration of the International Day of Democracy.

Among top world leaders, Trump is the most widely loathed as well, with fewer people expressing confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs (16%) than Russia’s Vladimir Putin (22%) or China’s Xi Jinping (19%). By comparison, 76% of respondents expressed confidence in German chancellor Angela Merkel to do the right thing.

It appears, however, that the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus has done more than Trump’s foreign policy to ruin both his and America’s reputation around the globe. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the World Health Organization earlier this year, and continued to insist as recently as Tuesday that China was unilaterally at fault for the nearly 200,000 American deaths as a result of COVID-19

“It was China's fault. I don't care how you want to define it. This was China's fault,” Trump said during a town hall with ABC News on Tuesday.

But around the world, most people don’t see it that way. Among all 13 countries surveyed, the U.,S. response to coronavirus received the worst marks by far, compared with the World Health Organization, the European Union, the respondent’s own country, and China. 

Whereas 37% said China has done a good job containing the coronavirus outbreak, just 15% expressed the same view of the United States.

If all else fails, however, Trump can at least rest easy knowing he has more support from European nationalists. Among members of 11 of the most far-right parties in Europe, Pew found that confidence in Trump markedly improved relative to people in that country who don’t support the far right. 

In Spain, for example, 45% of members of the neo-Francoist Vox party expressed confidence in Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Among non-Vox members in Spain, just 7% did. 

Cover: President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)