Men and women who put their lives on the line for their country support President Donald Trump, according to a new survey.
The Pew Research Center survey showed 57 percent of the veterans surveyed support Trump. That’s well above the national levels of support from Americans of all walks of life, which the Real Clear Politics average of approval rating pegs at 42.8 percent.
Forty-eight percent of veterans said Trump’s actions since taking office in 2017 have made the military stronger. Trump has often spoken of giving the military more resources, addressing long-delayed needs for equipment and increasing military pay.
So proud of our great Military which will soon be, after the spending of billions of fully approved dollars, the finest that our Country has ever had. There won’t be anything, or anyone, even close!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2018
The poll asked veterans if they thought they could rely on Trump’s judgment in using military force in a crisis or using nuclear weapons.
Overall, Trump had a 58 percent net positive rating among veterans who said they would trust Trump’s judgment on either category.
In the Pew survey, 48 percent of respondents said Trump respects veterans “a great deal” and 14 percent said he respects them “a fair amount,” for an overall positive score of 62 percent.
Thank you to our GREAT Military/Veterans and @PacificCommand.
A day I’ll never forget. pic.twitter.com/CMkB0kTkSc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2017
Veterans also sided with Trump on several of his key policies. Overall, 58 percent supported sending troops to the Mexican border to deal with migrants, 53 percent supported America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement and 52 percent agreed with his ban on transgendered individuals in the military.
In terms of foreign policy, 60 percent backed Trump’s dealings with North Korea, 56 percent supported his efforts to get NATO allies to pay more for Europe’s defense and 54 percent supported his dealings with Russia.
The veterans said Trump could get even higher approval ratings. Forty-five percent of those surveyed said Trump does not listen enough to military leaders when making national security decisions. Differences in style and substance were cited as reasons that highly popular Gen. James Mattis resigned from the post of secretary of defense.
As with the public as a whole, there was a stark difference between approval ratings when broken down by party enrollment.
Veterans who said they were Republicans or “right-leaning” gave Trump 92 percent support. For veterans who were Democrats or leaned to the left, the support level was only 6 percent.
Trump has criticized some of America’s past military efforts and vowed from the start of his administration that he would reject the policy of nation-building followed by past administrations.
In this area, Trump shares common ground with many veterans.
The Pew survey found that 64 percent of the veterans surveyed said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting. Of those surveyed, 58 percent said the same about the war in Afghanistan and 55 percent about the U.S. military campaign in Syria.
In the wake of strong defense budget increases under the Trump administration, 43 percent of those surveyed said military spending was fine where it was and 49 percent said it should increase.
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