Joe Biden's Approval Rating Slumps Again, Still Higher Than Donald Trump's

President Joe Biden's approval rating has slumped again in recent days as he has faced criticism for his handling of the situation in Afghanistan and defended his administration's position.

The president's approval rating on August 18 stood at 49.3 percent, according to poll tracker FiveThirtyEight, which tracks Biden's popularity based on analysis of a wide range of polls and its own system of pollster ratings.

This represents a decline of 0.5 percent since August 17 and 0.9 percent from one week ago. Biden's approval rating stood at 50.2 percent on Wednesday, August 11—before the Taliban took the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, August 15.

Despite this recent decline, Biden's approval rating is still higher than former President Donald Trump's was at its peak.

According to data compiled by FiveThirtyEight, Trump's highest approval rating was 47.8 percent. He enjoyed this level of approval on January 25, 2017—shortly after taking the oath of office.

However, the former president's approval rating was subject to significant fluctuations and fell markedly between January and August 2017.

Trump enjoyed an approval rating of just 37.8 percent on August 19, 2017, meaning Biden's approval is substantially higher during the same period of his presidency.

Biden's approval rating has also been relatively stable and peaked at 55.1 percent on March 22, 2021. By contrast, Trump's approval never broke 50 percent during his four years in office.

The president's approval rating has been on a downward trend since late July—six months into his presidency. New presidents are generally understood to enjoy a "honeymoon" period during the first few months with voters widely approving of them. This was not the case with former President Trump, however, who experienced a sharp decline in approval in his first six months.

Biden has been under fire for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan amid chaotic scenes in Kabul and the ongoing effort to evacuate U.S. citizens and the U.S.' Afghan allies from the country.

The president defended the decision in a televised address on Monday, saying: "I stand squarely behind my decision."

"I'm now the fourth American president to preside over war in Afghanistan—two Democrats and two Republicans. I will not pass this responsibility onto a fifth president," he said.

"I will not mislead the American people by claiming that just a little more time in Afghanistan will make all the difference."

Former President Trump, whose administration negotiated the deal for the troop drawdown from Afghanistan, harshly criticized Biden's handling of the situation and called for him to resign.

"It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan, along with the tremendous surge in COVID, the Border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy," Trump said a in statement on Sunday.

Newsweek has asked the White House for comment.

President Joe Biden Delivers Remarks on COVID-19
U.S. President Joe Biden pauses as he delivers remarks on the COVID-19 response and the vaccination program in the East Room of the White House on August 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden's approval has seen a decline in recent days as events have unfolded in Afghanistan. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images