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Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam, President Trump said, “We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore.”
USA TODAY

HO CHI MINH CITY — President Trump arrived in Vietnam on Friday for an economic summit where he can indulge one of his greatest passions: boasting of his commanding lead in the polls.

The president is far more popular here than at home.

“He’s quite different from the past presidents,” said Tran Vuong, 38, a software engineer in Vietnam’s largest city. “It’s difficult to guess what he will do and that may be an effective strategy with countries like North Korea, Iran, Syria and China. And I think from the economic point of view he is also trying to do some different things.”

While that might seem like faint praise, many Vietnamese view Trump’s unorthodox political style and business experience as a positive. He was well-known as a celebrity before taking office. Many of his books have been translated into Vietnamese. There is also the perception he will be tougher on Vietnam’s giant neighbor, China. The two nations have been locked in a dispute over contested islands in the South China Sea.

In fact, according to a Pew Research Center poll released ahead of Trump’s 12-day, five-country trip to Asia, 58% of Vietnamese expressed confidence in Trump to “do the right thing in world affairs.” It’s a response second in Asia only to the Philippines, where he has a 69% confidence rating. 

In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal published at the end of October, Trump’s domestic approval rating dropped to a new low of 38%

Trump’s popularity reflects warm sentiment toward the United States despite Vietnam’s legacy as a battlefield for U.S. troops some 40 years ago…