Total global disbelief as Trump is elected presidentPublished: 2017-01-09 | Original Article
Attribution USA Today - Kim Hjelmgaard
BERLIN — America decided and the world made clear it was the wrong decision.
Donald Trump entered the 2016 presidential race as an underdog. His surprise victory over Hillary Clinton prompted foreign observers to say that their worst fears about the contentious U.S. election were realized.
"After Brexit and this election, anything is now possible. A world is crumbling before our eyes. Vertigo," France's ambassador to the U.S., Gerard Araud, tweeted as it became clear that the billionaire businessman and reality TV star would win the world's most powerful post.
Araud's reference to Britain's exit from the European Union — Brexit — was a nod to another vote, also fought on a political battlefield that pitted the political establishment's support for open borders and global trade against strong populist support for nationalism and isolation. In both cases, voters upended pollsters' and pundits' predictions.
"It's not just about him. It's about who he will, and has, emboldened," said Samantha Shannon, a popular British writer. "Everything about this feels identical to Brexit."
Chinese state media were quick to cast the election as the embodiment of America’s democracy in crisis in contrast to China’s perceived stability under authoritarian rule. "The majority of Americans are rebelling against the U.S.’s political class and financial elites," the official Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily said in a commentary.
In Russia, where the government has been accused by U.S. intelligence officials of trying to meddle in the election through cyber-mischief, Muscovite Alexei Anatsky, who works in the IT industry, said "real life is turning out far less funny than it seemed a while ago. We had an idea of how people think in New York and San Francisco. Now we are seeing how more than half of the country thinks."
Global markets expressed shock at Trump's win. Dow stock futures on Wall Street plunged more than 4% before recovering. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index nosedived 5.4%, its largest drop in years. European shares also plummeted.
The Mexican peso started plunging as soon as it became clear that Trump had won the key battleground states of Florida, Ohio and North Carolina — indicators of his eventual victory. Mexico's central bank had called a Trump win a possible “hurricane” for the peso and created a contingency plan to respond.
"I never thought the American people would vote for someone who is … anti-everyone," said Jennifer Long, a teacher from Kansas who had gathered at a restaurant in Mexico City late Tuesday for what she hoped would be a celebration of a Clinton victory.
Trump has referred to some Mexican migrants as "rapists" and criminals and vowed to build a wall along the U.S. border paid for by Mexico, a pledge that has angered many Mexicans. "The entire country is shocked,” said Esteban Illades, a magazine editor.
Owen Smith, a British politician who lost to Jeremy Corbyn to lead the opposition Labour Party, said Trump's triumph means there would be a "racist in the White House and a human rights abuser in the Kremlin," where Russian President Vladimir Putinhas his office.
Not all foreign observers were hanging their heads following one of the most caustic presidential elections in U.S. history.
"We regard with satisfaction that the better candidate of the two presented to the American voters was victorious," said Vladimir Zhirinovsk, the leader of Russia’s nationalist Liberal Democratic party. Russia's parliament broke into applause when the result was announced. Putin sent Trump a telegram of congratulation.
"I am for Trump because he supports India," said Anil Arora, a Delhi shop owner. "He is also clearly against terrorism. This is good for India. We need a strong man to eradicate this evil." Others in the South Asian economic powerhouse said Clinton and Obama had improved ties between the two nations.
In Tokyo, Japan's government pledged to work closely with Trump even though he is widely perceived there as harboring anti-Japanese sentiment.
Jasmine Dang, who was wearing a Trump T-shirt and a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap in Ho Chi Minh City, said Wednesday that reading Trump’s books helped her in her own career and that his business leadership would benefit the U.S. "The image of America needs to be tougher and stronger," said Dang, who manages a company that helps Vietnamese apply for business and investment immigration visas to the U.S.
Nimrod Zuta, an ardent Trump supporter in Israel and founder of the "Trump White and Blue" group on Facebook, which has more than 14,000 followers, said Trump's victory would be remembered as "one of the most important dates in the history of mankind" and that he would help "wipe radical Islam from the face of the earth." Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. to ensure they are not terrorists.
Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party who helped engineer his nation's surprise vote to withdraw from the EU, said he was handing over his prediction-defying "mantle" to the president-elect. Trump was a strong supporter of Brexit, and Farage appeared at several Trump rallies.
In Berlin, John B. Emerson, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, said strong American-German relations would not change, and he hoped that Trump would start bringing together a "polarized country." Next week, Obama is due to visit Germany, where he will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of his closest allies.
In France, Marine Le Pen, who leads the far-right National Front party, tweeted her congratulations before Trump had even been declared the winner. Geert Wilders, a fellow anti-immigration politician in the Netherlands, declared that Americans were "taking their country back."
Perhaps the most conciliatory words came from Trump himself.
In his victory speech, the political novice who vowed to "Make America Great Again," said he wanted the world to know that while he would always put the interests of the U.S. and Americans first, as president he would do something else as well: "Seek partnership not conflict."