German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most respected global leader and the image of the United States has gotten worse since Donald Trump took office, a leading survey showed.
The survey of 25 nations by the Pew Research Center also showed that respondents from across the globe have less confidence in Trump’s ability to lead than they do in Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.
Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has pulled the United States out of international agreements like the Paris climate accord and Iran nuclear deal, cozied up to authoritarian leaders like Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and criticized his neighbors and NATO allies.
Last week, when giving a speech at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Trump drew laughter from world leaders when he claimed to have achieved more in his two years in the White House than almost any other U.S. administration in history.
The survey showed that America’s image, which took a big hit in 2017, Trump’s first year in office, continued to deteriorate in many countries in 2018, particularly in Europe.
Just 30 percent of Germans have a favorable view of the United States, down five points from last year and the lowest score in the entire survey after Russia, on 26 percent.
Only 38 percent of French and 39 percent of Canadians said they had a positive view of the United States, both down from last year. Mexico inched up slightly to 32 percent.
Faith in German Chancellor Angela Merkel highest
Source: Pew Research Center Global Attitudes & Trends
Just 7 percent of Spanish, 9 percent of French and 10 percent of Germans said they had confidence in Trump’s leadership. In 20 of the 25 countries surveyed, a majority said they had no confidence in Trump.
Across all countries, an average of 27 percent of respondents said they had confidence in Trump. That compared unfavorably to Putin, on 30 percent, and Xi, on 34 percent.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the only leader in which a majority of those surveyed, 52 percent, expressed confidence. French President Emmanuel Macron was just behind at 46 percent.
The countries with the most positive views of the United States were Israel, the Philippines and South Korea, all at 80 percent or above. Across all countries, the U.S. got positive marks, with 50 percent saying they had a positive view, compared to 43 percent who were negative.
Allies took a dim view of the Trump administration’s position on civil liberties, with majorities in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and Mexico saying the government did not respect the personal freedoms of its people.
In June, after a G7 summit in Canada, Trump refused to sign a joint statement with America’s allies, deriding his host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as “very dishonest and weak”. He has repeatedly attacked Germany for its trade surplus, low defense spending and reliance on Russian gas.
Reflecting Trump’s “America First” stance, substantial majorities in 19 of the 25 countries surveyed said the United States did not take their interests into account when making international policy.
The survey was conducted between May and August, and based on interviews with over 900 people in each of the surveyed countries.
REUTERSReporting by Noah Barkin, editing by Ed Osmond
Angela Merkel: 'Chancellor of the free world'
It's time we build bridges instead of walls. In late August 2015, when tens of thousands of migrants fleeing war in the Middle East streamed into Hungary, threatening a humanitarian crisis, Merkel agreed to suspend the European Union’s asylum rules and allow them to continue into Germany. She declared to skeptical countrymen: “Wir schaffen das,” which translates as, "We can do this."
Time magazine named German Chancellor Angela Merkel its 2015 "Person of the Year," noting her resilience and leadership when faced with the refugee crisis and turmoil in the European Union over its currency in the same year.
TIME Person of the Year 2015: Angela Merkel
In a statement explaining the magazine's choice, managing editor Nancy Gibbs said despite crises in the region that caused "reason to wonder whether Europe could continue to exist," Merkel, 61, emerged as an "indispensable player."
"For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is TIME’s Person of the Year," Gibbs wrote.
In response to the news, Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert told a government news conference: "I am sure the chancellor will cherish this as an incentive in her job."
Merkel celebrated her 10-year anniversary as chancellor last month, making her the European Union’s longest-serving leader.
Pack Leader Merkel, here hosting heads of G-7 nations ahead of a June meeting in southern Germany, has marshaled international consensus on crises in Ukraine and Syria
For years she was seen as a cautious, risk-averse leader who paid close attention to public opinion in formulating policy. But her leadership in the Ukraine crisis last year, her clinching of a deal this summer to keep Greece in the euro zone and her stance in the refugee crisis have changed that view.
Time also noted her leadership this year in leading the West's response to Vladimir Putin's "creeping theft of Ukraine" and welcoming refugees to Germany despite "the reflex to slam doors, build walls and trust no one."
She is the first individual woman to hold the title since Corazon Aquino in 1986, though women have been honored as part of a group. Last year, a group of Ebola doctors and survivors won the title.