Our most recent book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and Trump's disregard for law. According to a federal indictment, he jeopardized national security by illegally retaining government documents, and then obstructed efforts to get them back.
But despite it being readily apparent that Trump didn’t do what the government asked, a new YouGov poll shows Republicans, by and large, maintain that he did. It shows 53 percent say Trump “cooperated in returning documents,” with just 15 percent saying he didn’t.
Perhaps as stunningly, YouGov back in January asked the same question about President Biden and former vice president Mike Pence, both of whom had a smaller number of classified documents. Despite there being no evidence either of them declined to turn over the documents, significantly more Republicans said Biden didn’t cooperate (38 percent) than said the same of Trump (17 percent). Just 22 percent of Republicans said Biden had cooperated.
And in case you think this just boils down to partisanship, it doesn’t. In contrast to Republicans’ views of Biden’s supposed lack of cooperation, Democrats recognized Pence’s cooperation by a 50-12 margin.
Related to the above are views of intentionality. There is no public evidence that Biden knew he had classified documents and held on to them, and plenty that Trump did. That evidence long predates last week’s indictment. But a February Quinnipiac poll showed just 48 percent of Republicans believed Trump intentionally held on to the documents, compared to 71 percent who said the same of Biden.