(Getty/Mark Wilson)

Most Americans don't want Trump's fingers on the button: poll

It's America's worst fear: That the president will launch a nuclear first strike


Charlie May
January 24, 2018 1:26PM (UTC)

Following a year of heightened tensions and childish threats hurled between the United States and North Korea, a new poll shows that roughly half of Americans are concerned President Donald Trump would launch a nuclear attack without any justification.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 33 percent of Americans don't trust the president and are very concerned he will launch an unjustified nuclear strike, while 20 percent of Americans don't trust Trump and are just somewhat concerned.

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Overall, 60 percent of Americans don't trust the president will handle his authority on U.S. nuclear capabilities responsibly, while 38 percent said they trusted him, the poll showed.

The results are closely correlated with views on Trump's mental stability. Asked about Trump's recent labeling of himself as a "very stable genius," 48 percent said the president is mentally stable — but 47 percent said he wasn't. A majority — 84 percent — of those who doubted Trump's mental fitness were at least somewhat concerned he would launch a nuclear strike without justification. Nearly three-quarters of those who believe Trump to be stable trust him to use the American nuclear arsenal responsibly, the Post reported.

The poll was conducted between Jan. 15-18, and surveyed 1,005 people. Among them, 40 percent said they see themselves as Independents, 31 percent as Democrats and 23 percent see themselves as Republicans.

The results come after a strenuous year on U.S. international influence and approval, as well as the heightened risk of war on the Korean Peninsula. Several insults have been exchanged back and forth between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, though recent talks between the two Koreas have signaled small signs of improvement. For now, tensions seem to have been reduced to a simmer, but it's only a matter of time before Trump feels the need to show off his bravado on Twitter.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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