Facing Heat Over Ban, Trump Lashes Out Declaring All Negative Polls 'Fake News'

A sign at a London protest against U.S. President Donald Trump. (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/cc/flickr)

Facing Heat Over Ban, Trump Lashes Out Declaring All Negative Polls 'Fake News'

Pre-dawn Twitter tirade underscores that public opinion has little bearing on president's plans

Lashing out over recent courtroom setbacks and growing opposition to the controversial travel ban, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday declared "any negative poll" to be "fake news."

The statement, made during a pre-dawn Twitter spree, appeared to be in response to a recent CNN/ORC poll (pdf), which found that the majority of Americans oppose Trump's plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as well as his recent executive order banning travel from seven majority Muslim nations.

According to the survey, which was conducted Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 53 percent of respondents oppose the ban. Further, 55 percent said they believe the executive order "is an attempt to ban Muslims from entering the United States."

A full 60 percent of respondents say they oppose "building a wall along the entire border with Mexico," a number which has risen slightly since early September, when 58 percent said they were against the idea.

The survey also found that 53 percent "disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president," growing from 45 percent disapproval in late November, and mirroring the recent Gallup poll which found that Trump has achieved majority disapproval years faster than preceding presidents.

But as Trump's Monday tweet made clear, these numbers have little bearing on his thinking or plans.

Countering Trump's claims, CNN's Brian Stelter wrote Monday, "Professional polling is scientific, not political, in nature. Polls by TV networks during the election were not 'fake news.' In fact, most national polls were not far off the mark. The polls correctly showed Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by a relatively small margin."

"But that's about the past," Stelter added. "Trump's tweet said more about the future. He was taking his long-standing poll denialism to its illogical conclusion, inviting his supporters to dismiss unpleasant data."

The opposition to the travel order is palpable, not only because of the polls, but also in the widespread protests that erupted after the ban's enactment and have continued for over a week.

On Monday, a bipartisan group of national security officials, including former secretaries of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright, as well as former CIA chief Michael Hayden, filed a joint declaration (pdf) to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday declaring the order unjustified "on national security or foreign policy grounds," saying that it "ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer."

The Ninth Circuit Court is currently weighing the Trump administration's appeal after the ban was blocked in a Friday ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robart. On Sunday, the Ninth Circuit rejected the Trump administration's request to reinstate enforcement of the ban until the final decision.

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