A new CBS News poll shows Donald Trump’s approval rating is up marginally after Thursday night’s Syria strikes on Syria’s largest air base. The strikes involved the use of 59 Tomahawk missiles, each costing the United States approximately $1.5 million dollars. Immediately following Thursday’s attack in Syria by the United States, the company that makes the missiles, Raytheon, experienced a stock surge, leading to an increase in stock profits for anyone holding those stocks.
As recent as 2015, Donald Trump did own stocks in Raytheon, reports Business Insider, though it is unclear if he still owns those holdings. In June of 2016, he reportedly sold some sections of his stock portfolio, reports Fortune Magazine, but Forbes’ reports that Donald Trump refused to divest all of his assets. Additionally, of the list of companies whose stock Donald Trump owned and named as sold in June of 2016, Raytheon was not named on that list.
The CBS poll out today shows that Trump’s approval rating has “edged up,” but many Americans are still protesting Thursday’s strikes in Syria that occurred without congressional approval.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans approve of the Syria strikes on Thursday night, although that is where Trump’s approval rating increase ends. Most American disapprove of any United States military action beyond those strikes. Americans, and Congress, are voicing unease about any further action that occurs without congressional approval, as the Inquisitr previously reported. That unease has strengthened over the weekend, with only 18 percent of Americans wanting ground troops in Syria.
An overwhelming majority of 70 percent of Americans think that congressional approval must occur before any further action, including 50 percent of Republicans. The reaction to Donald Trump’s Syria strikes Thursday has been divided, and not down party lines. Although Republicans have for the most part pivoted completely since their 2013 position against Obama, where they said Obama strikes on Syria without congressional approval would lead to impeachment proceedings.
But 43 percent of Americans are giving Trump’s approval rating a nod, an increase from last week’s 35 percent. Forty-nine percent of Americans still disapprove of Donald Trump’s overall job performance.
Even with an increase in Trump’s approval rating today, very few Americans believe that Trump is capable of handling foreign military action, and are pointing concerns to North Korea.
The Washington Times reports that a Syrian state news outlet is asserting that nine civilians were killed in the villages located near the airbases that were struck with 59 Tomahawk missiles. Of those nine civilians, four were children. Donald Trump said that he engaged in the missile strikes after chemical warfare killed children in Syria.
Aircraft shelters on Syria’s Shayrat Airfield were damaged but not destroyed during the strikes. They were also reportedly largely empty. The deaths that occurred from the Tomahawk missile strikes occurred in the surrounding village areas.
Market Watch is reporting that it will cost America approximately $60 million to replace the 59 Tomahawk missiles. Market Watch is also reporting a seven percent increase in Raytheon stocks since January of 2017, and they also increased over the weekend marginally.
Tomahawk missiles can be launched from either a submarine or a ship, and have been part of the United States military arsenal since the Gulf War in 1991. Raytheon referred questions of cost to the United States Navy.
Todd Harrison, the director of CSIS, says the 2017 budget for the Navy estimates the missile costs at $1.5 million each, but that the Navy has not budgeted for the purchase of more. Stock prices in Raytheon, the maker of the Tomahawk missile, rallied on Friday after the Syria strikes. At one point, Donald Trump did at one point own shares in Raytheon. Americans today are wondering if he still does.
Trump transition team spokesperson Jason Miller told the media in December that Trump sold all of his stocks in June of 2016. But the Trump transition team has been reluctant to provide proof, and Donald Trump has refused to disclose his financial dealings beyond his FEC filing. It is his FEC filing that discloses he does own Raytheon stock.
In December of 2016, Fortune reported that Donald Trump had named stocks that he sold. This included technology companies and banks. He reportedly named the stocks that he sold and publicly traded shares as Google, Microsoft, J. P. Morgan, Chase Bank, Nike, Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil, and Halliburton. Raytheon was not on that list, although Raytheon shares could have been included in the sale of “publicly traded shares.”
Even so, Donald Trump has failed to provide requested proof of his reported stock sales. He has also refused to divest his assets reports Forbes Magazine. Nine days before Inauguration Day, Forbes reported that Donald Trump went public to say he was not divesting his business empire and was handing over control of all of his assets to his children Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
Sheri Dillon of the law firm Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius said that all of Trump’s assets, including commercial real estate, business licensing, and “cash holdings” would be transferred to a trust run by his children. An ethics advisor, appointed by Trump, would vet all of his transactions that would present a conflict of interest, and a chief compliance officer, appointed by Trump, would ensure the presidency was not being exploited for profit.
It was alleged at the time that all of Trump’s pending business dealings, both foreign and domestic, would be halted. It was also alleged that the Trump Organization would not enter into “new foreign licensing agreements” or “any deals with foreign officials” while he was in office. Trump also pledged to donate to the United States Treasury any profit from foreign bodies that would patronize his hotels while in office.
That would include resorts such as Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, which Trump has referred to as the Winter White House. It would also include the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., where Trump has hosted dignitaries. However, Trump has a mortgage on the property in Washington, D.C., and on many others, that is rather lengthy in term.
Due to the hefty mortgage, he will not profit from the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., while he is in office, and thus will not have anything to donate to the United States Treasury from that property for some time, if ever. All of these matters are related as a key source of contention for Americans and lead to Trump’s low approval ratings prior to this week.
Also, shortly after saying that he would not accept foreign licensing deals or foreign business transactions, Donald Trump had his application to China for a trademark approved for some of his businesses, reports the Atlantic. That approval had been pending for 10 years, and it was approved right after Donald Trump took the oath of office and expressed a commitment to “One China Policy.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein called the trademark deal a “clear conflict of interest” and “deeply troubling.”
It is likely that Donald Trump has sold his Raytheon stock, given that it was publicly stated that he sold his public shares. But the Washington Post reports that an ethics counselor to President Obama, Norm Eisen, has said, hearing from a spokesperson of the Trump transition team, that stocks were sold is not enough, particularly since Trump has refused to divest his assets and has put his children in charge of his business.
“We need to know, has he put them [stock sales] in conflict free assets..or has he bought other stocks or assets that would create new conflicts. It’s all the more reason that we need a prompt and full financial disclosure. If he did liquidate all his stocks, what did he do with the money? What bank is the money in? What did he buy? It’s a lot of money.”
Although Donald Trump’s approval rating today has “edged up,” many pundits believe it to be short-lived. Many Americans also believe that the Syria strikes on Thursday were a political move on Trump’s part to change the narrative from the Trump-Russia controversy.
In the aftermath of the Syria strikes, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota has reminded Americans that the Trump-Russia scandal has not gone away. Although he supported President Trump’s decision in the Syria strikes, he has issued a Trump-Russia petition and is asking Americans to sign it to investigate Donald Trump’s finances further and to demand for an independent investigation on the Trump Russia scandal. Senator Franken has also cast doubt on Trump’s choice of transition team members and how much they can be trusted.
It was Jason Miller, former Trump transition team member and now-staffer at the White House, that said Donald Trump had sold his stock. But Senator Franken notes that many of Trump’s transition team members “had questionable meetings with Russian officials and that they lied about it.”
Former disgraced national security advisor Michael Flynn resigned for that reason. During the course of the campaign, Donald Trump also lost Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone Jr. due to mysterious reasons. Vice President Mike Pence was a Trump pick by Paul Manafort and alleged in March that he did not know that Michael Flynn received money from Turkey, even though Pence had received a letter from the House Oversight Committee on November 18, 2016, saying that he had.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Trump pick, also has had to recuse himself from Russian investigations as a result of his alleged meetings or conversations with Russian officials. Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Republican Devin Nunes has also had to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation for unknown reasons.
Steve Bannon, another Trump pick, was also removed from the National Security Council last week and is said to be on the chopping block for removal from the White House entirely. Additionally, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus may be as well, with a short-list reportedly circulating for possible replacements of Reince Priebus, reports ABC News.
Senator Al Franken wants an independent investigation into all of this upheaval and Trump’s financial dealings. Although Trump’s approval rating has “edged up” today, there is clearly a lot of room for improvement with notable and demonstrable upheaval at the White House. Americans are also interested in concrete evidence on whether Donald Trump still owns Raytheon stock, as it would be a clear conflict of interest for him to be profiting from missile strikes that reportedly left nine dead including four children.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]