In the early hours of Wednesday morning, news of Donald Trump’s election sent waves of shock around the globe. While people wept outside the White House and cheered inside Trump Tower, the international community joined America in its mixed responses to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election results. Many world leaders extended their hearty congratulations to the President Elect. Others used their position of power to express their ardent disappointment.
Among the flurry of first responders to the election results was Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a telegram to Trump, Putin offers congratulations and enthusiasm for future collaboration as he “hopes for work together to lift Russian-U.S. relations out of the current crisis, resolve issues on the international agenda, look for effective responses to global security challenges.” In a live video broadcast from Moscow, the Kremlin reiterated its desire to work with America’s new president in sustaining global stability and security. Russian news outlet Interfax reported that even the Russian Parliament erupted in applause after Donald Trump’s victory was announced.
Shortly before votes were cast, Russian business newspaper Kommersant published that result of a poll that asks Russian citizens which U.S. presidential candidate they preferred. Eighty four percent of voters selected Trump over Clinton with only 16 percent of the vote. Coverage of the American electoral events appeared on many of Russia’s major news stations, including popular national news station Rossiya 24 which featured a countdown to the closing of polls in the U.S., a feature that had never before appeared on television for even Russia’s own elections.
President Xi Jingping joined the throng of firsts to offer congratulations to Donald Trump. Shortly after the results were announced, China’s leader is reported to have said, “I place great importance on the China-U.S. relationship, and look forward to working with you to uphold the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.”
China’s people were some of the most well-receiving of the new president-elect. “China is feeling a little bit delighted,” says Shen Dingli, deputy dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. To the Chinese public, the 2016 U.S. presidential elections are an excellent display of democracy’s messiness and instability, making the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appear to be a stronger, undivided power. The Global Times, a tabloid heavily linked to the CCP, denounced the U.S. president-elect, saying he “was known for being a blowhard and an egomaniac. But if such a person can be president, there is something wrong with the existing political order.”
Marking himself sa the first leader of the Arab World to respond, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued a statement saying, “The Arab Republic of Egypt is looking to see Donald Trump’s presidency pump new life into the course of Egyptian-American relations, and more cooperation and coordination that will benefit both the Egyptian and American peoples, and promote peace and stability and development in the Middle East region, especially in the face of the huge challenges that it faces.” This statement echoes the hopeful friendliness of Trump’s meeting with Sisi in September where the President Elect promised that the U.S. “will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally.”
Non-state actors have chimed in on the post-election discussion as well. Abu Muhammad al-Maqsidi, a senior al-Qaeda ideologue, posted on Twitter, “Trump lays bare the real American mentality and their racism towards Muslims and Arabs and everything. He exposes what his predecessors hid only for his victory to expose even more America and its lackeys” (translated). Thirty-nine minutes later, Maqsidi tweets, “It may be that Trump’s state is the start of America’s breakup and its time of disintegration. The hot-headed man hurts the people closest to them thinking that this will benefit him according to what he said” (translated).
News of Donald Trump’s election was met with a wave of anxiety from European leaders. Displaying such tension, German Chancellor Angela Merkel set conditions for U.S.-German cooperation, issuing the following statement: “Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views. I offer the next President of the United States close cooperation on the basis of these values.”
In France, the cover pages of newspapers across the country illuminate the running emotions. Daily newspaper Libération makes clear its position with the headline “American Psycho.” L’ouragan calls the destructive election “Hurricane Trump.” La Criox, a Catholic newspaper, blazons “L’innconnue,” meaning “uncertainty.”
French President François Hollande mimicked the media’s response. Hollande commented on the results, saying “The people of America have spoken. I have congratulated Mr. Trump, as it is usual in this situation. I thought of Clinton, with whom I worked during the Obama administration. This result leads to uncertainty.” Although Hollande assured that U.S.-France alliance would remain intact, the French president urged “vigilance because of statements made by Donald Trump”.
In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May was quick in her response to the election results, congratulating Trump in a statement released on Facebook and Twitter: “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on being elected the next President of the United States, following a hard-fought campaign. Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise. We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defense.”
Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn did not share the same congratulatory remarks. In a statement, Corbyn insisted that, “This is a rejection of a failed economic consensus and a governing elite that has been seen not to have listened. And the public anger that has propelled Donald Trump to office has been reflected in political upheavals across the world.” Corbyn continued by urging the world to stand together in solidarity and combat global challenges.
THE NEXT FOUR YEARS
While sentiments towards Donald Trump victory have reported mixed reviews around the world, there is one common theme that weaves throughout the dialogue: uncertainty. Trump has made his strong opinions (and campaign gaffes) exceptionally clear to the American people and international community. However, as a new political plot unfolds Trump’s signature unpredictability could usher in a new world order or burn any bridges left standing. Whilst Trump’s victorious team and freshly picked Cabinet members transition into their White House offices, world leaders stand ready and waiting to transition into a new relationship with the next President of the United States.