Capitol Alert

Can Trump handle Kim Jong-un? Californians aren’t so sure

Californians are anxious about Donald Trump’s ability to handle the situation with North Korea’s nuclear program, with a large majority of likely voters expressing little confidence, according to a new poll.

The survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found just 32 percent of likely voters saying they were confident in Trump’s ability to handle the situation while another 65 percent express unease.

As Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, trade sharp exchanges, about half of the voters here say they are very concerned about the possibility of North Korea having a nuclear missile that could reach California. Democrats, Republicans and independents were all split on the issue.

Trump’s recent lambasting of Kim as “Rocketman” at the United Nations, and his remarks in Huntsville, Ala., further heightened tensions between the countries. Kim responded by calling Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

California’s proximity to North Korea is one of many factors that led Gov. Jerry Brown to repeatedly warn about the nuclear threat, and the need for world leaders to come together on the topic.

“We can’t ‘one-off’ the North Korea threat,” Brown said at a recent stop in Russia.

“The path forward is to realize how much of an existential threat it is,” he said. “And then for the big countries, China, Russia, U.S., (to) come together and put their best minds together, and act in concert.”

The PPIC poll also found half of the state’s residents are paying more attention to politics since Trump’s election.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago