According to a recently published study by the Pew Research Center, forty-five percent of United States veterans believe that President Donald Trump does not listen to military leaders enough when it comes to decisions regarding national security.
Additionally, roughly forty percent of the country’s veterans do not put their trust in the current president concerning decisions about his use of military force, and twenty-six percent say they do not trust Trump at all.
But despite their hesitation at how the White House is handling issues overseas these days, political polls continue to show a majority of veterans in support of Trump. Of the 1,284 veterans surveyed, fifty-seven percent say they approve of the way he handles his duties as commander in chief, and forty-eight percent agree that his policies have made the military stronger.
However, the polls also show that ex-military members’ loyalty to the president is drastically different depending on which political party the individual typically supports. Ninety-two percent of veterans who identified as Republican (or who are Republican-leaning) approved of Trump as commander in chief, while only six percent of those who identified as Democrat (or lean Democratic) had the same feelings about Trump’s handling of militaristic power and responsibility.
In a slight contradiction, veterans were more likely than the general population (of which there were 1,087 adults surveyed) to support some of Trump’s most controversial opinions of foreign policy—those on North Korea, Russia, and Iran. Sixty percent of veterans approve of Trump’s handling of North Korea’s nuclear program, yet a much smaller forty-four percent of the general population says the same. Fifty-four percent of veterans approve of Trump’s dealing with Russia, while only thirty-nine percent of the general population agrees. And fifty-three percent of veterans agree with Trump’s 2018 decision to withdraw from the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran, but only forty percent of the general population approves of this drastic decision.
Trump has been known to seduce support from veterans in the past by boasting about his massive fondness for them and by donating large sums of money to veteran groups. After one such hefty donation during the 2016 political campaign, he tweeted, “So I raised/gave $5,600,000 for the veterans and the media makes me look bad! They do anything to belittle—totally biased.”
And many U.S. veterans seem to find that Trump is genuine in his respect and admiration of ex-military personnel. Forty-eight percent of veterans polled said they believe the president respects the armed forces a great deal, while only thirty percent of all Americans perceive the love as real.