President Donald Trump has said it’s difficult for his communications people to speak for him, and has shown interest in wanting to speak more directly with the American people.
Monmouth University released a new poll of 1,000 people that shows that may not be the best idea for his administration.
“I’m going to read you a list of White House officials who sometime speak for the Trump administration,” the poll question asked. “Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with President Trump, please tell me if each person does more to help or more to hurt the president when they speak on behalf of the administration. If you are not familiar with a person I name please let me know.”
A majority of Americans – 61 percent – think Trump does more harm than good when he speaks on behalf of his administration. In fact, majorities of all Americans thought Trump’s main spokespeople – such as counselor Kellyanne Conway and Press Secretary Sean Spicer – did more harm than good.
The only person a majority of Americans said was more helpful than hurtful as a mouthpiece of the Trump administration is Vice President Mike Pence, with 53 percent saying he helped more than hurt.
Reviews were mixed for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary who has filled in for Spicer at White House press briefings a few times.
“This is the epitome of a no-win situation. It’s not as if Trump’s appointed spokespeople are doing worse than the man himself,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “It may simply be an impossible task to represent this president and come off as credible.”
Communications Director Mike Dubke resigned his position earlier this month, as speculation has swirled about a shake up within the White House following the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Many have wondered if that shake up will mean Spicer’s ouster as well, as Trump has complained publicly that his spokespeople aren’t accurately representing him.
More people – 42 percent – thought Spicer hurt the administration compared to the 28 percent who thought he helped.
The poll results are not immune to the deep sense of partisan politics in the country, however. Just among Republicans, a majority thought all the mentioned officials are doing a good job. Democrats thought all the officials were “hopeless as administration spokespersons,” though opinions on Pence were more divided among Democrats than the other administration officials.