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Most Americans don't approve of Trump's work as president-elect: Poll

Only 41 percent approve of Trump's transition, 40 percent view his nominees for top positions favourably
Most Americans disagree with Trump’s cabinet picks, Twitter tirades and business ties (AFP)

The majority of Americans do not agree with US president-elect Donald Trump’s transition to the White House so far; most of the US public disapproves of the incoming president’s cabinet picks, Twitter tirades and business ties, according to a Pew Research poll.

In the survey, conducted between 30 November and 5 December, 57 percent of the 1,502 respondents say there is "a lot of discrimination" against Muslims.

Only 41 percent approve of the work Trump has done as a president-elect, while 40 percent view his nominees for top positions favourably.

The approval ratings are lower than previous incoming presidents. 

The president-elect has made a host of controversial appointments, including Scott Pruitt as director of the US Environmental Protection Agency, although the nominee prides himself on fighting the group tasked with ensuring clean air and water to the US public.

Stephen Bannon, the former chief of far-right news website Breitbart, is Trump's chief strategist. Michael Flynn, who has proclaimed that fear of Muslims is not irrational, was appointed as national security adviser, with KT McFarland, who has said that Russia's Vladimir Putin deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, as his deputy.

But the most troubling Trump pick of all, according to US civil rights attorney Mohammed Abdrabboh, is Jeff Sessions for attorney general.

Sessions, a US senator who represents Alabama, was denied federal judgeship by the Senate in 1986 because of allegations of racism.

Abdrabboh said the cabinet nominees are an extension of the policies that the incoming president wants to implement.

He said the appointment of Sessions should be alarming to minority groups because his office will have a "broad discretion" on where to focus federal prosecutions.

"It’s also about the Civil Rights Division that was active under progressive administrations like Obama; it could be disassembled and under-resourced because it will no longer be a priority," Abdrabboh told Middle East Eye.

The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department was established in 1957 to ensure all Americans' constitutional rights and combat discrimination.

Abdrabboh called on Trump to rescind nominees who may have racial or religious biases. Muslim American groups have also voiced concerns about the president-elect’s appointments.

Earlier this week, more than 300 Muslim organisers and leaders across the US issued an open letter to Trump, urging him to denounce Islamophobia.

"It is deeply concerning that you have announced the appointment of individuals to your upcoming administration with a well documented history of outright bigotry directed at Muslims or advocating that Muslims should not have the same rights as their fellow Americans," the letter reads. "We urge you to reconsider and reject such candidates."

Abdrabboh said the election season was "schizophrenic," and that the results are inexplicable.

"Trump ran an election on the premise of manipulating people's fears and desires, and he rode it all the way to a victory, so I’m not really surprised that his numbers go down," Abdrabboh said. "People are disappointed. When people are manipulated, when they realise it, they become angry."

According to the poll, most Americans favour envirenmental regulations and find Trump to be reckless.

More caution

Trump is one of few presidents to be elected in the digital age. But his frequent use of social media is unprecedented. Throughout the campaign, Trump has taken to Twitter to attack opponents, respond to followers and promote his message. 

"If somebody can't handle a Twitter account, they can't handle the nuclear codes," US President Barack Obama said of Trump during the campaign.

Despite the criticism, Trump has carried on with his Twitter habits after the elections, using the platform to express views about flag-burning, respond to media reports and even denounce a satirical show.

More than 80 percent of Americans say Trump "needs to be more cautious about the kinds of things he says and tweets," according to the survey.

Amid an increase in hate crimes, Trump has called on his supporters to refrain from attacking others.

"Stop it," he told them in his first post-election interview. He has also said that he denounces all forms of bigotry.

But Abdrabboh, the lawyer, says Trump has not done enough to push back against bias. He said Trump's timid statements against discrimination carry no weight.

"The same way he goes to Twitter to talk about how great he is and how many jobs he saved, I'd like to see him immediately tweet when a Muslim woman is attacked in Brooklyn; I'd like him to immediately tweet when there's something racist that happens; I'd like him to immediately tweet when he can be presidential and take a moment and tell people this is wrong,” Abdrabboh said.

"That’s when I would take him more seriously."

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