The world reacts to Trump

A subtitle given to the President of the United States is the designation of “leader of the free world”. And as the United States is considered the world’s only superpower, this subtitle speaks to how what happens there becomes relevant to other countries. Prior to the election of November 8, a common expression that came up during the campaign was that “the whole world is watching”. And throughout his campaign, as well as in several instances after the election, Donald Trump has butted heads, one way or another, with other countries and with other leaders. As the dust settles on the US elections, the rest of the world reacts.

What has become a point of conversation is how citizens of other countries have reacted to someone like Donald Trump. Members of Parliament during the campaign period considered banning Trump from entering the United Kingdom while post-election, anti-Trump protests have extended to Canada and France. Polls were conducted by The Economist that showed that most countries would have voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. This itself speaks to how discussion has taken place in several aspects of what decided the election. These include the use of the electoral college, as Trump won the election through it in spite of losing the popular vote, the perception of Trump within the United States, and that of, as well as the contrast with, the rest of the world. Debate over who was to blame for Trump’s victory (white nationalism, Clinton campaign, the political left etc.) has extended to other countries as well.

France’s ambassador to the United States also expressed disdain at Trump’s election. Additionally, Trump has also drawn the ire of leaders of OTHER countries such as Germany, whose foreign minister is quoted as saying that US foreign policy will be “less predictable” for them, and whose chancellor released a congratulatory statement that some interpret as a veiled threat to Trump, while Carl Bildt, former Swedish foreign minister, deemed Trump’s election as a “double disaster for the West”, referring to the earlier Brexit vote. Conversely, Trump’s victory has been met with praise by several far-right groups around the world. Praise and enthusiastic congratulations have come from figures such as Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right Front National party, Dutch populist Geert Wilders, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Perhaps the most notable of foreign figures elated by Trump’s victory is Russian President Vladimir Putin. Throughout the campaign and beyond, Putin and his operatives in Russia have long been speculated to have played an active hand in swaying the election towards a Trump victory. This has been attributed to Trump and his staffers’ ties to Russia, the country’s admitted coordination with WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and a publicly released statement from the Central Intelligence Agency confirming active Russian involvement in the election.

Another interesting foreign leader has been Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Throughout the campaign period in both the US and the Philippines, which also held its elections in 2016, and who according to the Economist would have voted 60% for Clinton, Duterte had been compared to Trump, as both are considered foul mouthed, which Duterte himself joked about in his own congratulatory message to Trump, wherein he also spoke of the possibility of repairing strained relations between the two countries with Trump. Duterte however had previously expressed disdain for Trump. He rejected comparisons to him, calling him a “bigot” and criticizing his anti-Muslim stance, while stating, in his familiar firebrand style of speaking, that he can “go f**k himself”*, and even explicitly stated a preference for Hillary Clinton. But with the election now decided, and with Trump’s invitation for Duterte to visit the White House, and Duterte himself as well establishing relations with Putin, the dynamic established between the two remains to be seen.

*rough translation

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