Total global disbelief as Trump is elected president

Total global disbelief as Trump is elected president

Published: 2017-01-09 | Original Article
Attribution USA Today - Kim Hjelmgaard

USA TODAY politics reporter David Jackson takes us to the floor of the Hilton in New York after Donald Trump's acceptance speech as the President elect. <span class=USA TODAY" align="left" />
USA TODAY politics reporter David Jackson takes us to the floor of the Hilton in New York after Donald Trump's acceptance speech as the President elect. USA TODAY

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.

Russia is one of the few countries were polls show a majority of people favored Trump over Clinton. Trump has said flattering things about Putin's strong leadership style, while Clinton was very critical of the Russian leader while serving as President Obama's secretary of State.

Attribution USA Today - Kim Hjelmgaard