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Voice: Trump’s Growing European Base Trump’s Growing European Base...
Over the last year, European anti-Americanism has ebbed somewhat, thanks in large part to the sentiments of right-wing populists enamored with U.S. President Donald Trump. Their fond feelings have created a surprising opportunity for Washington to repair the trans-Atlantic relationship that it has recently done so much to dismantle.
If there is one unifying sentiment among supporters of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Italy’s Lega Nord, the Sweden Democrats, the National Rally in France, and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), it is that they all increasingly approve of Trump. That’s rooted in the extreme right’s soft spot for authoritarians and Trump’s own anti-immigrant stance.
To be sure, among the general public, Trump is still extremely unpopular in most of Europe. Just 13 percent of Germans, 18 percent of Swedes, and 20 percent of the French have confidence in him to do the right thing in world affairs, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. These numbers are a fraction of Europeans’ support for U.S. President Barack Obama in his last year. Only in Poland do half of those surveyed back Trump. Overall antipathy to the U.S. president has been prevalent since Trump was elected. As a senior German official told me in 2017: “It took George Bush eight years to become this unpopular. It took Donald Trump four months!”
Even so, the same poll shows that support for Trump is up 11 percentage points in France, 14 points in Spain, and 16 points in Poland from 2018. (The most recent survey was conducted before the U.S. killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani on Jan. 3.) And that boost is largely due to a rise in Trump’s approval by supporters of right-wing populist parties.
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