What the World Thinks of a President Trump
Spoiler alert: From Europe to Asia to Latin America, the outlook isn’t very optimistic.
Full disclosure: My husband Duke and I fall into the half of America that was absolutely shocked, mortified and despondent that our next president will be a man who openly lies and regularly spouts sexist and racist remarks.
As we try to come to terms with the idea of a President Trump, we wanted to find out how the rest of the world felt. So we reached out to friends who live abroad or who have family there.
Not surprisingly, the rest of the world seems to be as freaked out as we are. –Wally
Brent, an American living in Taiwan
What a sad day, not only for the U.S. but for the whole world. I think America regressed 50 years today.
Walking down the streets of Taipei, I have always stuck out like a sore thumb: “Mommy, look, waiguoren [a foreigner].” As an American living in Taiwan, you get used to it, but walking the streets today I actually felt ashamed to be American. I felt the stares and whispers more than usual.
Taiwanese very rarely ever talk about politics outside of the home. It’s a bit taboo. Today was different. Many Taiwanese spoke to me, all in utter disbelief about our new president-elect: “How could Americans vote for such an evil person?” “Was there a mistake with the election?” “Can this be overturned?” They are all very scared, and rightfully so I believe.
Taiwanese have always respected and appreciated Americans in Taiwan (the U.S. has done a lot for Taiwan). I think that changed for the worse today, and I imagine that Trump’s crassness will only exacerbate that here in Taiwan and within the international community.
I’m still in shock that America chose this bigot. I’m hoping that I wake up in the morning and it’s all a joke. It is such a joke.
Malcolm, a Welshman living in the United States
Actually, we had a little Guy Fawkes Night bonfire for a few Chicago-based Welsh folks on November 5. It’s a tradition to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes — ours might have borne a passing resemblance to a certain president-elect.
A news crew from Wales stopped by to film it and do a few interviews. Though I don’t think the effigy burning made it past the editors, and just the interviews (in Welsh) aired back in Wales.
For the Lewes Bonfire Night, they burned an enormous Trump effigy.
And here are a few more from around the country.
My cousin in the U.K. did say, “I can’t believe how many Americans voted for this.”
On the bright side, at least we’re (the U.K.) no longer the dumbest country of 2016.
Kent, an American living in Paris
Europeans are all concerned that democracy in America has completely died. Anti-American sentiment is already being regurgitated from the Bush years.
My boyfriend Michael, my friend Chris and I already had a share of verbal mockery when we were speaking English in the streets of Paris. Some guys were shouting, “Donald Trump” at us.
Whether you voted for him or not, America as a whole is seen as responsible.
Germans are shocked and appalled; they recognize this is the rise of America’s neo-national socialist movement.
Street interviews express disgust, awe and fear. People prefer saying they have zero opinion on Trump because he is not even worth commenting on.
My colleagues and even direct reports are inquiring how the ban on Muslims will impact future travel and training in the U.S. next year: “Will we be excused from our annual meeting in Florida next year?”
France is in a state of panic, as their presidential elections take place next year. The current socialist president, Hollande, has been weak and ineffective, leaving the door wide open for the opposing right, including the Front National, France’s most radical and very real neo-Nazi party. Trump’s win has emboldened and legitimized their campaign going into 2017 so much so that key experts are even predicting a potential win.
Unlike the U.S., any supporter in Europe of Trump’s ascension to power can only be a fellow nationalist and fascist. No middle ground on that.
Europe doesn’t even know how to engage the new American administration. Hollande didn’t even prepare a congratulations communiqué for Trump, as it seemed so unlikely — unfortunately the radical right beat him to the punch.
Europe is essentially as overwhelmed as the U.S. and plunged in an even deeper sense of uncertainty about the future. Germany fears a risk of a relationship breakdown, as they cannot support or work with any government that could cross over into the gray area of human rights violations.
By adding Trump’s win to the Brexit also spells an even more fragile situation for the stability of the European Union. Anti-globalization sentiment is further justified and confirmed now than it has ever been before.
American expats are reconsidering any plans to move back to the U.S. now.
While it’d be wonderful to feel Europe is so disconnected from the U.S., we’re here in our own, protected little island, but the realistic truth is that we’re tied and bolted to the U.S. in so many ways.
The media here is not timid or holding back on opinion. Trump is portrayed exactly as if the U.S. just voted in a fascist to government. Faith in democracy and our future is bleak.
Andrea, a Puerto Rican living in the United States
With P.R., it gets a bit tricky because my mom’s generation (and older) and my generation have a very different reaction to this whole Trump situation.
The simplest way of explaining it is as follows:
For some idiotic reason, millennials don’t want to be part of the U.S. — they want P.R. to become independent (even though we’ve been supported by the U.S. for so long that becoming independent would probably transform P.R. into a third world country like the Dominican Republic). But anyway, my generation’s reaction to Trump winning the presidency is, “Suck it, U.S.! You get what you deserve! You’ve become the circus of the world!”
My mom’s generation (and most of P.R.) on the other hand are very concerned. They are terrified that Trump will take away our citizenship. They are angry that the entire island is obligated to follow the U.S.’s laws and regulations, when they are not even allowed to vote for the U.S. president.
The island’s election happened the same day as the U.S. elections, and the PNP (Partido Nuevo Progresista) won. This party is the one that wants to do everything in their power to make the island a state. But now that Trump won, they’re not sure it’s the best time to request this, considering Trump is a racist and is threatening to take away our citizenship. It’s a very complex situation.
Aneta, an American with family in Switzerland and Serbia
My Swiss family and I have had a lot of discussions about U.S. politics over the years. They are not fans of the U.S. political system and even refused to visit D.C. when they’ve visited. They seem to believe that our choice reflects the heart of the majority of Americans.
My family in Serbia are also not fans of the U.S. due to the bombings and intervention in the Yugoslav civil war in the ’90s and recently in Kosovo. They hold us responsible for the instability in the Middle East. They relish a bit in the election of Trump, who is seen as a caricature of American arrogance. I don’t think they like Hillary any better because Clinton was president during the civil war in Yugo and they see him responsible for the bombing of civilian schools, restaurants, bridges, etc.
I think their views are not different from most of the world, which is taking some delight in our dirty laundry being televised. But Europeans see our behavior now, with the protests, as American entitlement and temper tantrums. At the end of the day, we are one of the oldest democracies in the world and they respect that. If we believe in the process, we have to accept the results with dignity, even when it doesn’t go our way.
Morgan, an American living in the Netherlands
There are so many feelings and emotions about the recent election of Trump happening here in the Netherlands.
First of all, the entire presidential race was covered by almost every newspaper in the Netherlands. There were at least two articles a day giving the most recent gossip and news. This I found kind of shocking considering that it’s not their country and their election, but it just confirms the fact that the fate of the United States holds the fate of so much of the rest of the world.
Next, lots of people talked to me about the election before the big day. People from all walks of life knew all about it and wanted to tell me how they felt.
I volunteer at a homeless shelter, and one of the main points of conversation lots of the nights was about Trump and how crazy he is and how terrible and scary it would be if he were elected.
One of my other Dutch friends told me that to her Hillary was just the lesser of the two evils. We argued about how she thought Hillary needed to lighten up a bit and her worry that Bill would be involved in the presidency somehow.
The night of the election, we had another American couple over to watch the results. They showed up at 2 a.m. and we started out watching the bad news roll in. It wasn’t until 9 a.m. here that we watched Trump speak and announce his phone call with Clinton. At this point, the entire world lost its mind. So many of my Dutch friends started texting with their condolences. Screenshots of Dutch Twitter accounts were sent to me by a few people, saying that the Netherlands is very scared for the results and worried about what this means for the future. Many others simply told us that we are always welcome to stay here.
Many people here have told me about their concern for the climate. Others have told me that they’re worried that something like this may happen with the Netherlands in March 2017. Geert Wilders, a very notorious conservative political figure, may now win the general elections. The fact that this has already happened in the U.S. doesn’t help.
This is the government news site for the Netherlands and what they say about Trump. It’s pretty direct and to the point — but it’s clear that they think this was a big mistake and a big step backwards. Newspapers from all over the world have had Trump’s face on the front page for days.
Donovan and Kate, Americans living in Qatar
Regarding the local view of That Horrible Thing That Happened: The initial reaction in Qatar was probably the same as everywhere else: shock. Everyone here went to bed Tuesday night (Doha time) assuming to wake up to a Hillary presidency, and then…that.
Georgetown University Qatar had an Election Morning celebration, featuring the U.S. ambassador and all kinds of red, white and blue décor. She stayed long enough to realize that Trump would win, and the embassy released a tight-lipped statement saying that they would serve the next president as expected; you could hear the tears in the press release.
Several of the universities here had emergency community meetings to address student fears; these are, after all, schools rooted in the U.S. with students here who have been told they won’t be allowed to travel to the U.S.
From an expat perspective, the kind of person who would live in Qatar is not the kind of person who believes the Trump view of the world, and especially the Muslim world, so the last week has been essentially a funeral out here. All we’ve tried to do is ensure that all our coworkers, friends, etc., understand that we’re on their side, and that tens of millions of Americans are, too.
We’ll wake up tomorrow to the call to prayer, and as is tradition, Donovan will have his morning beer in his underwear while hundreds of Muslims pray beneath us. Is that not the ideal we should strive for?
Alan from Spain
Showman: That’s the first idea that comes to me when I hear Donald Trump’s name. Probably because I have seen him and his family since I was a kid on E! television or because the first image that comes to my mind is Trump firing people on a TV show where he was “the boss.” He was not nice from what I remember — he is not nice from what he had said on his political campaign.
His campaign was one of the biggest broadcasted shows ever. People that have followed it have been a total part of it: lovers and haters, critics and passionate homophobic-racist-misogynists.
In Spain, we have this kind of political behavior and media. It starts being like soccer or footbal…Red vs. Blue, yelling at each other without listening a word. Passionate hooligans.
For some of us, the idea of a “politician” like Trump seems like a joke. But it makes sense when you realize that there are governments that are not supporting education. Education is the base of the society, and when you segregate people for their origin since they were born, cut the spending for public schools and teachers, and don’t allow people to have REAL opportunities to grow, there will be a Donald Trump yelling in representation of “everyone else.”
People in the USA seem to be mad. But without asking questions or trying to figure out what is happening with their system, they blame the disadvantaged — those who are trying to survive in a society that exploits their work and undervalues their skills.
Maybe things will change, when in some circles they start realizing that having a black-skinned president does not make your country less racist.
Heather from England
Basically we have had the same response as the level-headed Americans. It’s a worry for us. But we are still reeling from our own stupid decision about Brexit back in June.
On the plus side, there have been some lovely shots of the new first lady in a furry bikini on the front pages of the tabloids!
Lynn from Guam
I think Guam’s polls were 75% for Clinton. So most people on Guam favored her over Trump.
The doctor I worked with followed the campaign closely and was in favor of Trump: a businessman who made some bad business decisions, while Clinton was an unethical person who damaged computer systems after a subpoena was served.
There are no protests on Guam at this time against Trump as president of the USA. Our governor is full of support for him and hopes to have a valuable presence with him.
The same doctor says, no they won’t impeach him because he is making fast adjustments (i.e., not eliminating the Affordable Care Act but using parts of it.)
There is a movement that says that the USA is not concerned about the island. We are brown-skinned people who would not weigh in with Trump.
I have not heard about predictions for the next four years. In my mind is great uncertainty: fear of global war, human suffering, lack of food and huge immigration.
Perhaps I should focus on hope, joy, harmony and peace that is here and now. I am not in Syria or Africa and we live a very good life because of Uncle Sam.
Humanity is global, so I can only pray for all people to have the quality of life that I am able to enjoy.
Ivo, a Bulgarian living in the United States
In Bulgaria we are mostly for the Democrats, for Hillary.
We have a prime minister, Boyko Borissov, who reminds me of Trump. He is very frank and authoritative. He was actually the bodyguard of the old communist president who ruled for 45 or so years.
BONUS! Nicolás, an editor from Spain, presented us with his take. Trouble is, neither Duke nor I speak Spanish fluently.
Tal vez, no hayan entendido nada: Hillary, todas esas Hillary políticamente correctas de “izquierda,” les han arruinado literalmente la vida a esa gente (principalmente del interior, pobre, blanco y aislado), liberalizando la economía al extremo y entregándoles a las corporaciones todo lo que han pedido.
Esa gente, ahora trabaja en Walmart de mierda con horarios infinitos, sin derechos y están envenenados de comer basura porque no pueden permitirse alimentarse a base de otra cosa, gracias a que políticos como Hillary subvencionan la industria alimenticia tecnificada en detrimento de industrias rurales.
El americano rural y clase media está desapareciendo.
Los Hillary (su marido, sin ir más lejos), han quitado todo tipo de regulaciones sobre el mercado de valores (Ley Glass-Steagall) que finalmente ha creado una burbuja para tragarlo todo y quedarse con las casas de quienes no han podido pagar sus hipotecas infladas. Han sido los Hillary quienes han contribuido, como nadie, a la deslocalización de empresas que afectan, sobre todo, a la clase media de ciudades del interior. Han sido los Hillary, de Estados Unidos y el mundo, quienes siguen pariendo monstruos por el hartazgo y la traición que ellos mismos representan…
Fue Hillary, por cierto, quien con su aparato Demócrata amañado frenó las aspiraciones de Bernie Sanders, el único que podía parar este desastre.
Ahora díganme: ¿Qué parte del triunfo de Trump no entienden?