Will IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s killing help Donald Trump?
Trump would expect a bump in approval ratings — currently at a low 41% in the RealClearPolitics average of polls — as did President Barack Obama after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. But the question he might also be asking himself is whether it will be just as short-lived.Updated: Oct 28, 2019, 21:29 IST
Shortly after President Donald Trump announced the death of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a US raid, his 2020 re-election campaign sent a text to supporters saying the president is “keeping American safe”, chalking it up for use at the hustings.
And soon after, Trump was loudly booed when he was introduced during a baseball championship game at a stadium in Democratic-leaning Washington DC, with a section of the crowd also breaking into a chant of “Lock him up”.
All of this within the span of a few hours of an announcement that Trump would hope would bolster his presidency, currently mired in an impeachment inquiry that is not going too well for him, and his claim to a second term in 2020.
Trump would expect a bump in approval ratings — currently at a low 41% in the RealClearPolitics average of polls — as did President Barack Obama after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. But the question he might also be asking himself is whether it will be just as short-lived. Obama’s 7-point bump was gone in two months, and he was back at pre-bin Laden ratings.
Will Trump’s last, and until November of 2020?
Nothing will stop him and his allies, from trying, touting the death of al-Baghdadi as an achievement and evidence of his muscular and nationalistic national security policies, though Trump had argued strenuously for denying the same credit to Obama for bin Laden’s death eight years ago saying the real credit should go to military and intelligence leaders.
Trump started right away after the announcement with a 40-minute long news briefing, in which he portrayed the killing as the result of his unwavering focus on the hunt for al-Baghdadi from the day he took office. On Monday, he spoke about it at an event in Chicago. “He was a sick and depraved man and now he’s dead,” Trump said. “He’s dead, he’s dead as a doornail, and he didn’t die bravely I can tell you that.”
On Sunday, his campaign followed up the announcement with a text to supporters: “President Trump has brought the #1 terrorist to justice — he’s KEEPING AMERICA SAFE”.
And allies, such as Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who had been openly critical of Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, fell in line. “What President Trump did last night was a hard call,” he wrote on twitter. “We owe President @realDonaldTrump a great deal of credit for ordering the raid to kill the leader of ISIS.”