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Military Poll a Morale Victory for Trump

Tony Perkins · Oct. 20, 2018

Under Barack Obama, the biggest threat to our military might have been the policies of the man in charge of it. From the toppling of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the rollout of open transgenderism, most service members couldn’t wait to get back to the business of warfighting. In 2016, they got their wish. After eight long years, the new commander-in-chief went to work, rescuing our troops from the radical grip of the Obama years. “I want a very, very strong military,” Donald Trump said. And he is proving it.

It wasn’t easy restoring a sense of pride to a military devastated by two terms of social engineering. But this president didn’t wilt under the pressure. He walked right into the fire and did what was right — whether the issue was the budget, sexuality, faith, gender, or draft-related. Now, almost two years into upending the policies of Obama, Trump’s troops are showing their gratitude. About 44 percent of active-duty troops have a favorable view of the commander-in chief — nine points higher than Obama’s top mark.

Of course, the headlines will be misleading. Even the reporters at the Military Times, who conducted the poll, say the president’s support is “fading.” But barely. Unlike Barack Obama, who watched his approval rating fall through basement — barely cracking 15 percent when he left office — Donald Trump is only 2.8 points off his 46.1 percent mark from inauguration day. That’s almost within the statistical margin of error. Obama’s support, on the other hand, almost completely evaporated, dropping 25 points between 2009 and 2015.

When it comes to Trump’s actual policies, the numbers are night and day. “Troops surveyed continue to give high marks to the president for his handling of military issues specifically,” the survey points out. “More than 60 percent said they believe the military is in better shape now than it was under President Barack Obama, and nearly the same number have a favorable view of his handling of the military.” Only 13 percent think Obama’s military was in better shape than Trump’s. That shouldn’t be surprising. Instead of dismantling the military like the last administration, this president is focused on rebuilding it. And when he does, it’s with an eye on their mission — not his.

“Trump has done some things to win the hearts of the military, whether it has been the budget or just avoiding a foreign policy catastrophe,” said political science professor Peter Feaver. “And he has talked about the importance of the military, making it a focus of his campaign and presidency.” Some of the men and women interviewed agreed. “[Trump’s] definitely improving the readiness of the military and giving us the resources we need to get the mission done, not hamstringing us by cutting our budget,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Overholser, an airman stationed in Arizona.

And while officers trail in their enthusiasm of Trump, even their favorability ratings have jumped 10 points — from 31 percent a year ago to 41 percent now. In the enlisted ranks, there’s always been a more positive opinion of the president than negative. Gender seems to be the only real divide. Female troops (who made up just 11 percent of the respondents) are much less supportive of this White House than their male counterparts.

Thanks to President Trump, the military is finally fighting something other than the culture wars. And honestly, that’s the difference between his administration and Obama’s. This president uses our troops to advance America’s interests — not his own. And our service members aren’t the only appreciative ones!

Originally published here.

An Ariel View of Trump’s Israeli Policy

The Trump administration doesn’t mind breaking with tradition — and this past Tuesday, America’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, notched another first for the president. In another departure from his predecessors, Trump’s diplomat had violated tradition by visiting the Samarian city of Ariel for a business event. Under past presidents, the U.S. ambassadors to Israel have had an unwritten agreement not to cross the pre-1967 borders.

Ambassador Friedman shares Trump’s view that it’s time to “normalize” activities in the area “and promote dialogue between the people of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” As Breitbart points out, this isn’t the first time Friedman has visited the area, but it is the first time he’s attended a conference about joint economic ventures in the West Bank. He believes, like so many Americans, in the importance of religious and political freedom for everyone. President Trump would like for both to extend to the West Bank and Gaza, but there are a lot of obstacles to overcome first.

Friedman didn’t exactly beat around the bush about that in his tweet after the event. “At the invitation of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce, I met in Ariel with Palestinian & Israeli business leaders ready, willing & able to advance joint opportunity & peaceful coexistence. People want peace & we are ready to help! Is the Palestinian leadership listening?”

This is not an effort to provoke — it’s an effort to promote conversation. Back in 2011, I joined the first congressional delegation to that same area in Ariel. Now, seven years later, under President Trump, our diplomats are making history. Last year, FRC took our entire tour to Ariel to see firsthand what the media refers to as a “settlement” in the West Bank. This is a thriving city with a university, performing arts center, and an industrial park where Palestinians work alongside Israelis. This is yet another example of the Trump administration refusing to be bound by the failed foreign policy of the past.

For more on the diplomatic successes of this administration, don’t miss my op-ed on the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson in Friday’s Washington Times, “Trump’s Foreign Policy Reset,” along with Travis Weber’s “Six Lessons from Pastor Brunson’s Ordeal in Turkey” in the Stream.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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