The country mourned President George H.W. Bush on Wednesday, Dec. 5, following his passing on Friday, Nov. 30, at the age of 94. His state funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. brought the four living former U.S. presidents together, as well as current President Donald Trump. While the funeral went off without any comment from the current commander-in-chief, Donald Trump's tweet after George H.W. Bush's funeral was all about his approval rating — just hours after.
Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, showed up at the state funeral on Wednesday and took their seats in the pew beside former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, with former President Bill Clinton and Trump's former 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton further down the row by former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter. Trump didn't have much of a job to do during the ceremony. He wasn't tasked with speaking and while some people thought the president looked bored or uncomfortable, nothing major happened — he didn't even send out a single tweet during the ceremony.
Afterwards, though, was another story. Later that evening, Trump tweeted out some praise for political commentator Doug Wead's critique of Bush's funeral — and then turned the attention to himself. Trump's next tweet following Bush's funeral was a picture of himself standing in front of his "promise made, promise kept" campaign signs. Big white lettering printed on the photo bragged a "50 [percent] approval rating," attributed to Trump's polling of choice, Rasmussen. The president captioned his Dec. 5 tweet, "Working hard, thank you." Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment on the tweet, but did not immediately hear back.
Now it's not out of character for the president to tweet about his approval rating, but the timing is a little odd. Trump spent the day listening to people praise the late Bush on his presidential competency and, more importantly, his character. Those who eulogized Bush, such as his biographer Jon Meacham, praised him for his commitment to truth and honor. “His life code was: ‘Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course,’" said Meacham of Bush. He also praised Bush for making the "lives of nations freer, better, warmer, and nobler." Bush's son, former President George W. Bush, said in his eulogy that his father, by example, taught him what it "means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage, and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country." Given all trhe high praise for Bush, it's as if Trump's Dec. 5 approval rating tweet was a raised hand to say "Look, I'm pretty great, too."
Not only is the timing of Trump's tweet a bit questionable, but so is the data. According to FiveThirtyEight, who collected data from numerous polls, the president's approval rating is more around the 42.1 percent range while his disapproval rating is in the 52.3 percent range. Trump often relies on Rasmussen, which tends to show him a little more favorably. According to The Washington Post, Trump has touted Rasmussen poll numbers at least 13 times since October. At least seven of those 13 tweets were from this year and bragged about a 49 to 51 percent approval rating, per Rasmussen. Meanwhile, other polls had consistently lower numbers. For instance, in April, the president tweeted a Breitbart article talking about how the latest Rasmussen poll showed him at a 51 percent approval rating. Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight's average poll had the president at around a 40.
Trump talking about his approval rating (inflated of otherwise) is pretty status quo, but maybe it could've waited a couple of days, not hours, after Bush's funeral.