Forty-four men have previously taken the oath of office and assumed the awesome responsibilities of the job, but President-elect Trump’s challenges are unique.
First, no president in modern times has taken office with the public so skeptical of him. The Jan. 12-15 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 adults showed that just 38 percent of the public had a positive view of Trump while 48 percent had a negative view (13 percent had neutral feelings), for a net minus 10 points. When Barack Obama entered office, he had ratings of 67 percent positive and 13 percent negative, for a net plus 54. Even after a contested election outcome going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, George W. Bush recorded a 50 percent positive rating and 30 percent negative, for net plus 20. In 1993, Bill Clinton took over with a 64 percent positive rating and 16 percent negative, for a net plus 48.
Second, Trump is not particularly well versed on the details of issues. It’s one thing to make pronouncements on general policy questions. It is quite another to master the intricacies of the issues in order to reach a desired outcome, as he is finding out on the issue of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.