By Eli Yokley
May 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm ET
President Donald Trump left Washington on Friday for his first foreign trip, a jaunt that will take him to five countries amid growing trouble for his associates and a plummeting approval rating at home.
On Saturday morning, Trump will land in Saudi Arabia, a country that has drawn the most negative public perception by voters among the others on his itinerary, according to Morning Consult polling.
A small plurality of Americans view Saudi Arabia as “friendly” to the United States, but only 12 percent of Americans view Saudi Arabia as an “ally,” according to a poll conducted in February. Twenty-one percent view the country as “unfriendly,” while 13 percent view it as an “enemy.” More Democrats view Saudi Arabia as unfriendly or an enemy than Republicans.
Three in 10 Americans (30 percent) said the U.S.-Saudi relationship is about right, while approximately 2 in 10, each, said it is either too close or not close enough. Republicans and Democrats hardly diverged on the question, though 18 percent of Democrats said the relationship is too close, compared to 23 percent of Republicans.
Trump will be in Israel on Monday, where he will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.
Americans have very kind views toward the country. Forty-eight percent of voters call Israel an ally, including 62 percent of Republicans. Overall, just 14 percent view Israel as either unfriendly or an enemy.
After a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday, Trump will head to Brussels, Belgium, where he plans to visit with France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron.
More than half of Americans (52 percent) view France as an ally, though partisanship does have some influence on this: Fifty-seven percent of Democrats see France as an ally, compared to 47 percent of Republicans. Much of the difference from Republicans fell into the “friendly, but not an ally” category. Only 1 percent of Americans called France an enemy.
In Brussels, Trump will also meet with North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders. He once called the military alliance obsolete, and has been courting other countries to up their spending on it as Americans say the United States should spend less on foreign military aid. More than half of voters (52 percent) said the U.S. should be spending less, while 16 percent said it should be spending more. Two in 10 voters said military aid spending should stay about the same, according to a March poll.
Trump will spend next weekend at the G7 Summit in Sicily, Italy. Nearly three-fourths of Americans (74 percent) had a favorable view of Italy according to a January poll.
Before heading back, he will greet U.S. troops stationed in Italy. Only four in 10 Americans think Trump is able to serve as commander-in-chief, according to a new survey.