What happens when a bunch of unpopular leaders greet Trump?
By any measurement, President Trump is the strongest "trunk in the forest," as my late father used to say.
From President Emmanuel Macron to Chancellor Angela Merkel to P.M. Justin Trudeau, most current national leaders would love to have his approval ratings.
Justin Fox made this point over the weekend:
Donald Trump is an unpopular president. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average as of Friday afternoon, only 43.3% of Americans approve of his performance. FiveThirtyEight, which weights polls by quality, sample size and partisan lean, puts the average at 41.6%.
But as the president meets with leaders of the other G7 countries in the French resort city of Biarritz this weekend, he can take solace in the fact that he's more popular than almost all of his peers.
The lone exception seems to be Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, whose cabinet's approval rating is 48.8% (to only 35% disapproval) in the Japan Political Pulse poll aggregator maintained by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA.
Only 32% of Germans polled for broadcaster ARD a few weeks ago said they were satisfied with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's approval rating was 41% in one recent poll and 39% in another (and in the second poll, by Ipsos, only 33% agreed that he "has done a good job and deserves to be re-elected")...
Then there is French President Emmanuel Macron, the one other more or less directly elected head of state (as opposed to leader of a parliamentary government) coming to Biarritz.
In so many ways, he's the diametric opposite of Trump: young, cosmopolitan, well-spoken, technocratic. He's the least popular of the lot, with a 28% approval rating in the most recent poll listed by the diligent editors of the "Opinion polling on the Emmanuel Macron presidency" Wikipedia page and 22% percent in the one before that.
So what does it mean?
At first glance, it means nothing to U.S. voters, because the media focus will be on the blunt Trump and his personality.
Inside the meetings, Trump's political strength will work for him. Politicians always look up to the guy with higher approval ratings. They want to be popular, after all.
Let's hope the other leaders also learn that the U.S. economy is doing better because of "growth-oriented" policies that encourage investment.