A solid majority of Americans think the level of civility in Washington has declined since the 2016 election, according to a new NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll.
Seventy percent of Americans believe that civil discourse between Democrats and Republicans has worsened since last November, the poll shows. Majorities also have little or no trust in institutions such as polls, Congress, the media and the Trump administration.
There is some partisan divide on these issues. While 80 percent of Democrats feel the state of civility has declined, only 65 percent of Republicans agree. And while some 68 percent of Americans trust the media not at all or not very much, that share rises to 91 percent among Republicans.
Indeed, 42 percent of Republicans think press freedoms have been expanded too much. That’s opposed to just 11 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents. Thirty-two percent of Democrats and 28 percent of independents feel “we have gone too far” in restricting the press, compared to just 9 percent of Republicans.
The GOP’s standard bearer, President Donald Trump, has repeatedly attacked the media, calling reputable institutions such as The New York Times and The Washington Post “fake news.” His administration has bucked traditional open access for journalists, including recently restricting the broadcast of press briefings. And his most vitriolic tweets are usually reserved for those who give him negative coverage.
The president has been under intense scrutiny in the past week over some of his cruder Twitter messages. This past Thursday, he tweeted a sexist remark about MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski that drew criticism from both people in both parties. Trump followed up on Sunday with an edited video of his tackling a person with the CNN logo for a head.
In June, first daughter Ivanka Trump told “Fox & Friends” that the level of viciousness directed at her father had surprised her. Her comments drew the ire of many who felt that her father had made and encouraged harsh remarks throughout his presidential campaign. She has not spoken publicly about her father’s tweet claiming that Brzezinski’s face was “bleeding” at Mar-a-Lago.