Washington, United States, Jan 17 – Donald Trump is poised to take office with the lowest approval ratings of any new president in recent history, but despite a chaotic transition, Americans trust the billionaire on one crucial point: jobs.
Since the real estate developer’s White House win in November, companies have lined up to announce new factories or jobs in the United States, including air conditioning manufacturer Carrier, Japan’s SoftBank, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.
Tech giant Amazon has promised 100,000 new jobs.
Another major automaker, General Motors, pledged Tuesday to invest $1 billion in US manufacturing and create up to 5,000 jobs in coming years.
The same day, Walmart announced it would invest $6.8 billion in the United States and create 10,000 jobs.
Trump — who since his election has wielded a mix of threats and incentives to push an America-first jobs agenda — has been quick to take credit.
“With all of the jobs I am bringing back into the U.S. (even before taking office), with all of the new auto plants coming back into our country and with the massive cost reductions I have negotiated on military purchases and more, I believe the people are seeing ‘big stuff,’” he tweeted on Tuesday.
His message appears to be resonating.
Sixty-one percent of Americans believe it’s likely the 45th president will be able to create good-paying jobs in economically challenged areas, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday.
The same percentage expects Trump to do a good or excellent job in handling the economy, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll also out Tuesday.
But this confidence in Trump’s ability to boost American job creation stands out as the exception, with polls suggesting an overall distrust of Barack Obama’s successor.
– ‘Phony election polls’ –
Trump is half as popular as Obama was when he was preparing to take office in January 2009, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll. He is less popular than any other incoming US president of the past four decades, going back to Jimmy Carter.
The latest surveys confirm the findings of other recent polls.
Trump slammed the findings, pointing out that a majority of surveys ahead of his November 8 electoral win predicted victory for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
“The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before,” he said on Twitter.
In fact, national polls conducted before the election were within the margin of error, with Clinton ending up winning the popular vote by 2.1 percentage points compared with a projected 3.3 point edge.
But polls projecting the winners by state were wrong.
– Democrats boycott –
Trump will leave his eponymous skyscraper in New York for a few hours Tuesday to visit Washington, where preparations for his inauguration are well underway.
On Sunday, organizers carried out a rehearsal of the ceremony and parade, with a military officer who is the same height as Trump standing in for the president-elect.
Miles of barricades were going up, blocking off the central axis of the city running from the White House to the Capitol, where Trump will be sworn into the highest office of the land at noon on Friday.
Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers and protesters were expected to take in the ceremony from the sprawling National Mall.
Some 28,000 security forces will ensure the safety of the event, with some already on duty in the streets of Washington.
One major security challenge is the hundreds of thousands of protesters expected to descend on Washington, for both the inauguration on Friday and a major protest march planned for Saturday.
Protests during presidential inaugurations are not unusual, with George W. Bush targeted by anti-war demonstrators in 2005 after his re-election.
But this year, more than 40 Democratic lawmakers have said they are boycotting the inauguration, the vast majority of them in support of Congressman John Lewis, a 76-year-old icon of the civil rights movement.
The Georgia congressman made waves last week when he told an interviewer that he does not see Trump as a legitimate president, citing intelligence that Russia interfered in the November election.
Trump lashed out on Twitter, criticizing Lewis’s district as crime-infested and saying the man who marched with Martin Luther King was “all talk talk talk – no actions or results.”
The busy week in Washington also includes Senate confirmation hearings for eight of Trump’s cabinet nominees.
Behind the scenes, the transfer of power has shown signs of disorganization. Trump has yet to appoint a secretary of agriculture, and the number two role in most federal departments remain empty.