By Juan Williams
An old proverb says a leader with no followers is “only taking a walk.”
If that’s the case, then the strutting President Trump has turned his presidency into a very lonely walk.
A Morning Consult poll released last week found Trump losing support in states he easily carried last year. He is down 23 points in Tennessee since his inauguration in January, down 21 points in Mississippi, down 20 in Kentucky, down 19 in Kansas and down 17 in Indiana.
Overall, 55 percent of the country disapproves of the job he is doing as president, according the most recent RealClearPolitics average. At the three-quarter mark of his first year in office, Trump is the least popular new president in history.
On Capitol Hill, House and Senate Republicans are also walking away from Trump.
In part, this is due to his attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Then there are the threats to incumbent Republicans from Stephen Bannon, formerly Trump’s chief strategist.
Bannon said last week he plans to challenge incumbent Republican senators in seven states, including Arizona’s Jeff Flake, Mississippi’s Roger Wicker, Nebraska’s Deb Fischer, Nevada’s Dean Heller and Wyoming’s John Barrasso.
“Creating a civil war inside the Republican Party may feel good, but I think as a strategy, it is stunningly stupid,” former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said of Bannon’s plan.
Speaking on Sean Hannity’s radio show, Gingrich stated the obvious: It would be better for the GOP if the president and his allies spent their time trying to beat incumbent Democratic senators.
Instead, Trump has whipped up a very public feud with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). Trump tweeted that Corker lacks “the guts” to seek reelection. Trump also belittled Corker as having “begged” for his endorsement.
Corker denied that, shooting back that it is a “shame the White House has become an adult day care center.” He added that Trump has hurt U.S. foreign relations with his impetuous tweets on world affairs, including “things that are not true.”
Rather than let it go, Trump responded by tweeting: “The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”
Corker was not “set up” by the Times. A transcript showed the senator stating, “I understand we’re on the record.”
Now, commentators who are open to Trump are starting to walk away from his parade as well.
“Last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, so tweeting out these tacky insults just seems beneath you,” Neil Cavuto of Fox News said on his show last week. “You are running out of friends faster than you are running out of time. You might not like Bob Corker, but a lot of senators do, and you need those senators, sir.”
Even Trump’s personal friends are turning away from him.
Thomas Barrack told The Washington Post he was “shocked” and “stunned” by Trump’s recent comments.
“I tell him all the time: I don’t like the rhetoric,” said Barrack, who has been friends with Trump for decades, since they were both Manhattan real estate developers.
To win back some followers, Trump needs a win.
Polls show Americans favor tax reform. They want a simpler tax structure, fewer brackets and loopholes to be closed. Trump repeatedly promised to deliver tax reform during the campaign.
But once again he is strutting with no one behind him as he abandons tax reform. He is focused on tax cuts for the rich.
Polls show that is not popular.
The New York Times analysis of the tax cut plan concluded it would be a “huge windfall for the wealthiest Americans” and “not directly benefit the bottom third of the population.” Polls show Americans oppose tax cuts for the rich.
A new Quinnipiac poll last week found that 49 percent of voters disapprove of the way Trump is handling taxes and just 37 percent approve.
Trump has also failed to deliver on his campaign promise to build a southern border wall and have Mexico pay for it. He continues to say it will get done. But, again, polls show voters don’t want a wall.
Similarly, Trump seems unaware that a majority of Americans now approve of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, and want its problems fixed so it can continue.
Instead, having failed to win a full repeal of the health-care law from the Republican majority in Congress, he signed an executive order allowing low-cost insurance to be sold across state lines.
That has been tried before and has a sad history of consumer fraud and regulatory confusion.
So it’s no wonder Trump now walks alone. He remains a celebrity figure for his hardcore base. But 10 months into his presidency, Republicans are starting to drift away as he fails to deliver on nearly every major campaign promise he made.
That’s not my opinion. That’s a demonstrable fact.
The only way not to see Trump as a failure is to close your eyes to what all of us can see.