Politics

Poll: 44 Percent of Americans Think Trump is a Racist

Four in five Americans said they believe Trump talks without taking much time to consider his words

President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Tuesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s rough rhetorical style was thrust under the microscope (again) last week after he called Haiti and parts of Africa “shithole countries” when complaining about their immigrants to the United States, multiple lawmakers who were at the meeting with the president confirmed.

Four in five Americans said they believe Trump talks without taking much time to consider his words, a new poll found.

The 1,500 U.S. adults polled by YouGov from Sunday through Tuesday tend to agree across the political spectrum that the president “reacts and speaks without thinking very much.”

Ninety-three percent of self-identified Democrats agreed with that sentiment, along with 77 percent of independents and 69 percent of Republicans.

What the survey did not address was how Trump’s freewheeling conversation style affects the respondents’ perception of him and his administration, though results do provide some indication.

YouGovTrump011617_v2-01

Most Republicans, 53 percent, said Trump is a “good role model.” An overwhelming 88 percent of Democrats, on the other hand, said that Trump is a “bad role model.”

The Trump tornado ripped through the 2016 Republican presidential primaries bucking and decrying so-called politically correct  culture and ad-libbing controversy in front of roaring crowds at raucous campaign rallies.

That frequently got him into trouble, such as the time he called undocumented immigrants from Mexico “rapists” or the time he dismissed as “locker room talk” comments from a 2005 video in which he appears to boast about sexually assaulting women.

The president’s penchant for explosive commentary has prompted scores of critics and lawmakers to apply a number of adjectives ending in “-ist” to his character.

A plurality, 44 percent, of respondents to the poll — which was conducted three days after Trump’s “shithole” comments — said they believe the president is racist. Forty percent said he is not racist, while 16 percent said they were unsure.

The Republican-Democratic divide on this topic ran deep, with 81 percent of Democrats saying Trump is racist. Just 7 percent of Republicans agreed, while 84 percent said he is not racist.

Leahy Questions Nielsen About Trump Comment

Lawmakers weighed in on the matter over the holiday weekend set aside each year to celebrate civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“What he does is racist. If what you do is racist, you certainly qualify for being a racist,” Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer said of Trump Tuesday. 

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker cried “tears of rage” when he heard about the president’s comments, he said Tuesday at a committee hearing where excoriated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for denying she heard Trump use the word “shithole” to describe Haiti and African countries at the White House meeting she attended.

“Your silence and your amnesia is complicity,” Booker said, shaking his fists.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said the remarks were “very unfortunate, unhelpful,” and likened the stories of Haitian-American and African-American immigrants to his Irish ancestors.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said that while the comments were not “constructive at all," Americans “shouldn’t draw conclusions that [Trump] didn't intend.”

“I know, for a fact, that he cares very deeply about the people in Haiti because he helped finance a trip where we were able to get vision back for 200 people in Haiti,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Trump challenged that he referred to Haiti and other countries as shitholes last Friday after the White House initially did not deny the slur. He also indicated that the conversation surrounding his comments at the White House meeting has hindered Democrats’ and Republicans’ ability to strike a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made — a big setback for DACA!” the president tweeted.

The YouGov poll, conducted via web-based interviews had an overall margin of error of 3.3 percent. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in Internet panel using sample matching. A random sample — stratified by gender, age, race, education, and region — was selected from the 2014 American Community Study.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.