‘A dark day for America’: Irish in US respond to Trump victory

Readers express despair and delight as Donald Trump becomes 45th president

Donald Trump has been elected 45th president of the United States of America. Irish people living in the US have been sending us their reaction: below is a selection of the responses.

Jenny Foxe, New York: ‘Trump is not the role model I want for my sons’

I am sick to the stomach. I have been a permanent resident of New York since 2012. I have two male children, and Donald Trump is not the role model I want for them. My 9-year-old is worried his best friend who is Muslim is “going to get kicked out of the country”. I’m so sorry to realise that there are so many people so full of hate in the US to make this happen.

Fiona McEntee, Chicago: ‘As an immigration attorney, I am worried for my clients’

I moved from Dublin to Chicago 12 years ago, and became a US citizen in 2013, just before the birth of my first child, Rose. As I lie awake in bed refreshing the results of my phone, I am tearing up thinking about how I will explain this to Rose in the morning. While she is only three, she understood there was a "competition" between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and she knew where our vote would go. She also saw him mock the disabled on television and she asked me a few times what he was doing. How can I explain to her that that man will be our next president?

As an immigration attorney, I am genuinely worried about my clients - both current and future. I’m worried that, as immigrants, they will feel further polarised in this country. Trump has discussed making sweeping changes to the immigration system including getting rid of the J-1 visa programme which will have a big impact on my practice. There is also a “startup visa” in the works which was going to be a wonderful solution for lots of my entrepreneur clients, but who knows what will happen with that? Further, I can only imagine that the general demand for visas and green cards will dramatically decrease and understandably so.


Nicole O'Loughlin, New York: 'I was a huge Bernie Sanders supporter'  
I am from Dunboyne, Co Meath where I lived and went to school until I was 15, when we moved to New York. I now work as a financial analyst for Northwell Health, a hospital and healthcare system on Long Island. Waking up to a Trump President Elect this morning, I am in utter shock.

This election has exposed a huge amount of dissatisfaction by Americans with the status quo, and corruption in government.  I was a huge Bernie Sanders supporter, and have felt disheartened and cheated by the system since the emails revealing the internal DNC corruption in favour of Hillary leaked this summer.

I was calling myself a "disillusioned millennial voter" for the past few months since Hillary won the nomination, yet to me she was still the clear and obvious choice over Trump.  I am now just one of many disillusioned Americans who cannot believe that in a few short weeks, Donald Trump will actually be our president.

Lisa Bermingham-Royer,  Jacksonville:  'I am relieved that Trump won, but also worried'  
As a registered Independent voter for this election, I voted against Hillary Clinton.  I am both relieved that Trump won as opposed to her, but also worried that he may not do the things he said he would.  I firmly believe Clinton should be in jail for her mishandling of classified emails and the jeopardy she put this country in. I also abhor her handling of Benghazi, and her treatment of her husband's female accusers.

I believe Trump to be a brash "New Yorker", but I love lots of brash New Yorkers.... they tell it like it is.  I don't like how he speaks about women however.  I can see he has a wife and daughters who appear to respect and love him, so I venture to guess that his crudeness is intended for male audiences, and not a true reflection of how he actually treats the women he cares about.

I am for a woman's right to choose, gay marriage, and the right to bear arms. Live and let live, so to speak.  As a legal immigrant, who emigrated from Baldoyle in Dublin in 1991, I feel the right way is the only way. No breaking laws. Period. I believe Obama has done more harm than good when it comes to race relations, our military, and law enforcement.  I did not want that to continue.  I also believe he has made us weak in the eyes of our enemies, and I most certainly did not want that to continue under a Clinton presidency.

Alice Ryan, New York: 'I kept looking for answers in people's faces but people weren't looking up'
I'd been hiding in my room since midnight. I'd known for sure since 2.30am but I wasn't sure what to do. How to go to work, how to step out into this newly unfamiliar country, how to shake the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'd last had the morning after Brexit. So I threw on a hoodie and jeans and walked to Central Park. I kept looking for answers in people's faces but people weren't looking up. The streets were largely empty and the bright sunshine that had enveloped New York City the day before had been replaced by a dense fog.

The park helped. The remaining yellow and auburn leaves high in the sky softened the blow and peoples’ heads were a fraction higher. I saw two people smile but there was significant evidence to suggest it was an accident in both incidences.

I have long thought that my iPod was psychic and when “Don't look back in anger” came on I tried to go with what it was telling me. The last song to come on was “New York I love you but you are bringing me down” (my fiancé must have put that on there; it is far too cool for me). By the time I got back to the concrete pavements and blinking lights more people were out. The bus tour salesmen were slowly but surely approaching the few tourists up early. Hot dog vendors were pulling carts to their usual spots and the fog looked set to lift. A few heads attempted low key smiles and it didn’t look like an accident. LCD Soundsystem got it in one but maybe just the other way around; US you are bringing me down, but I still love you.

Aoibheann Doherty, New York: 'Surely America had learnt from the UK's Brexit mistake?'
I'm a 25-year-old financial consultant who moved to New York a year ago. I didn't vote as I'm not a citizen, but I stayed up as the results came in, hopeful for a Clinton win (similar to most millennials here). I'm from the North and was outraged by Brexit; I thought, surely America had learnt from the UK's mistake earlier this year? But as the night went on it was clear Hillary's chances were thinning. I woke up again around 4.30am to see Trump had claimed victory, and I felt sick.

What a disappointing day for a country which is supposed to be land of the free. As a woman I am outraged that so many American women could think of voting for Trump. This is bad news for immigrant families which will be torn apart, bad news for the LGBT community, and bad news for all of America. Trump is all talk and it's clear that he has no real ideas on how to "make America great again". New York City is a sad place to be today.

Roxanne O’Connell, Rhode Island: ‘I worry that my retirement savings are on the line’

The day is gray, still and unseasonably warm (global climate change anyone?). As I walk across campus to my office, people appear sombre, students despondent. My colleagues are in “mourning"… some have actually said that. No one wants to talk about it.

I get in to the elevator and a colleague says, “Men hate women over 50”. She is angry. She sees funding for important health research like Alzheimers and Parkinsons drying up; everyone in science research is worried about this.

I was born in America, married Irish, lived in Carrick-on-Suir before emigrating back to the US in 1979. We plan to move back to Ireland in the next five to seven years, but now I worry that my retirement savings are on the line. I worry about the welfare of my colleagues and students who are not white. I had hoped that the better nature of the American people would prevail. I am deeply disappointed and sad.

Aine Greaney, Boston: 'I'm terrified of what today's news will actually mean for women's and immigrants' rights'
The day I got the telephone call that my mother's illness had fast-forwarded to deadly, I did what expatriate children do: I booked a transatlantic flight and packed a bag and crossed my fingers. Then, just before I left for the airport, I did something that I had never actually witnessed, that I didn't know that I knew how to do:  I knelt on the ground and keened.

Today, the presidential election results have time-travelled us to a dystopian world that we never thought would become reality. Today, I am packing another transatlantic bag to fly back to Ireland. This time, I’m going back for a very happy family event--one that I’ve spent the summer and fall looking forward to.

First, however, is my election-fuelled grief.  At work, my colleagues seem to have done a better job at processing this grief than I have. They're edging toward Stage 3 (bargaining), while I'm still stuck at Stage 1 (denial).  Anger is next.

And fear. I'm terrified of what today's news will actually mean for women's and immigrants' rights and for free speech and freedom of religion and gun control and the entire future of our very interconnected world.

Like my friends and neighbours and colleagues, I’ll make it through. I'll write and speak and picket if that's what it bloody takes.

John Quinn, Pittsburgh, PA: 'It was a choice made with eyes wide open'
I don't have a vote, I'm a guest in this country and still very happy to be here.  Democracy worked. However we perceive their choice, the American people had their say in terms of who they wanted to represent their respective parties, and ultimately who they wanted to preside over their country over the next four years. It was a choice made with eyes wide open and all the cards on the table. It was abundantly clear to every voter the personality, beliefs, faults, policies (or lack thereof) of each candidate. One of the tenets of democracy is the people determining their future through the ballot box and they decided (narrowly) that their future was best handled by Donald Trump.

The big loser here was the establishment – the political machine, the talking heads in the media, the pollsters. They got it significantly wrong from start to finish with Trump and did not account for disenfranchised American people who feel strongly they’ve been largely ignored and forgotten. Their voice was heard very loudly yesterday and, whatever I think of the result, I’m thankful that the power is still with the people to some degree.

Donald Mahoney, Alabama: 'Trump addressed our problems one by one offering his solutions'
I was born in the Bronx to Irish parents, am retired, in my 79th year, former USAF Air Force Captain, and management consultant. I voted for Trump, staying up all night to the final result and speech. Why did I vote for him? I felt the country was between a rock and a hard place:  we had the choice between a venal, self-serving person whom we cannot trust, vs a person who at times can be crass and uses language that the clergy does not know. Trump addressed our problems one by one offering his solutions. He had the backing of retired military officers. He reminded me of the street kids of my youth, full of vim and vigour, and ready to fight for what he believed; I liked and understood that.

This country has changed in the past 12 years. The media is biased to the left, and distorts facts which reasonable people have to double-check. We also needed a Republican Senate and House to get the movement on track. We have elected a man who surrounds himself with able people who have seen successful in their own right. His business success is due to his art of compromise. The bottom line for Europe and the world is you will be dealing with a man who wants to work with you for the common good of mankind, not a bully, but no patsy either. So stand by, I believe, and watch how a political outsider runs a country.

Kelly Kennedy, Connecticut: 'I am ashamed, embarrassed, alarmed and aghast'
I'm a US reader of the Irish Times, but I'm native to the US. I've been reading the Irish Times while my daughter studies abroad in Dublin, and I just returned from a delightful visit there. I'm a white female from Connecticut with two college degrees who voted for Hillary Clinton.  I am ashamed, embarrassed, alarmed and aghast that so many voters could choose a racist, sexist, misogynist, lying, xenophobic con artist and hustler to lead this country. How any self-respecting woman could vote for Trump is beyond comprehension.  Everything Trump stands for is repugnant to my values and morals.

I'm an attorney but unfortunately without work at the moment, living in a state where businesses continue to shed professional workers.  Now age 54, I doubt that a Trump presidency with a Republican chokehold on the Senate and House of Representatives, will brighten my economic future.  America chose not to elect the most qualified presidential candidate this country's ever had, pretending that she intended to harm the country by keeping a private email server. In a democracy, everybody gets the government they deserve.

Patrick McCarthy, Indianapolis: 'How must our women and minorities feel?'
I am an American-born Irish citizen living in Indianapolis, which at the moment feels like an oasis in the middle of a hostile desert.  Within the boundaries of the city, many of my friends are distraught. It is going to be more difficult this time, to come together as a country, when Trump has made his campaign by inspiring a fear of the family next door and fellow citizens. How must our women and minorities feel? We have elected a man who has done nothing to demonstrate that he will protect them from discrimination or harassment. We are currently struggling in this country to deal with racism and sexism. If there ever was a question that there is still a problem, the answer was confirmed today. It is a bit selfish to leave the country because of the result, but I can't say that the thought hasn't been on our minds. Just can't believe this really happened.

Deirdre Hogan, San Francisco: 'The USA that was the home of the brave and the land of the free is gone'
I've been here for four years and as I'm not a citizen I could not vote. I am both exceptionally angry and deeply saddened at the outcome of the election. That over half the eligible voters in this amazing and diverse country could have freely chosen to elect a man who is, beyond reasonable doubt, a racist, a sexist, a narcissist and who has not articulated in any real or meaningful way his vision and plan to "make America great again" is beyond my comprehension.

It is clear people feel frustrated with the “establishment” but where have common sense and decency gone? People will give many reasons for why they voted for Trump, but in my view, it was a vote of hate and fear: hatred and fear of immigrants and their perceived influence and impact on a country ironically born of immigrants (if you discount native Americans which most of the US does); a hatred and fear of poverty and the comparisons those without constantly make against those with; a hatred and fear for the rise in equality for women; and a hatred and fear for Democrats and liberal ideals and values such as the rights of gay men and women to be married, and the rights of a woman to control her own body.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is not hatred and fear at all but an inertia that has prevailed, and led the US to this dark place.

I ran the New York Marathon on Sunday and with over 120 countries represented the crowds were amazing and cheered us runners on the whole way. It made me fall in love with Americans again. But today, I am hurting because the USA I came to live in, that I loved, the USA that was the land of opportunity, the USA that was the home of the brave and the land of the free is gone. It’s now the home of the haters and the fearful and the lazy. It’s a USA I’m no longer sure I want to live in.

Erica Nolan: ‘The thought of leaving the US has crossed my mind’

Yesterday, at 10.30am, I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. I am a 23-year-old from the US, who has lived in Ireland. I don't consider myself a Democrat or Republican. I typically vote with decency and human rights in mind. I believed I was in the country's majority and was excited to watch the votes roll in for our first female president.

I sat down in front of my family’s television and watched as everything I believed in started to unfold. As I sit here now, in utter shock and awake at 2am, a few worries are circling around in my head.

How difficult will it be for my younger brother, who has a chronic illness, to get healthcare now that our president is planning to take away all of the healthcare reform put into place by President Obama? How much deeper will the racial divides between our police and minorities grow now that our president is backed by the KKK? In four years, will I have the same rights as a woman that I do today? Will my friends in the LGBT+ community be able to marry the people they love and openly be themselves by the time Trump’s presidency ends? How will the children of immigrants be affected by this man who plans to build a wall--metaphorical or not-- around our borders? And, how is this going to change our relations with the rest of the world? How is it going to change our relations with ourselves?

I am overwhelmed by these results and confused about what I should do. The thought of leaving the US has crossed my mind more than once during this presidential election. I studied at UL for a semester during my third year and have dreamed of going back to Ireland someday. The idea seems pretty appealing right now. As I think through all of the what ifs and hows, I realise that if people like me give up on our country now, America will cease to exist as we know it. For once, we have to own up to the blunder we’ve made as a nation and stand together. I’m exhausted and scared out of my mind.

Noel Reidy, California: ‘This is truly a dark day for America’

It’s almost 1am pacific time and I’m struggling to accept what has happened. The presidential campaign seems to have been part of everyone’s lives both here and internationally for some time and it’s hard to accept that it’s over when you consider who is now going to be Commander in Chief...

I’ve been living in California for almost five years and have enjoyed the balance of amazing weather, interesting people and general energy that purrs around Silicon Valley. Since moving here we’ve started a family and have a son who is now two years old, which has made me take a lot more interest in the political landscape both locally and nationally.

When I heard Trump was a candidate in the early stages of the pre-election process, I dismissed the idea right away because all I could think of was; terrible hair/fake tan/horrible character/reality TV star who clearly lacked any political experience. As the election process unfolded, I gained comfort from the fact that I didn’t know anyone who was a Trump supporter. When he began to get more media coverage through behaving like a brat, his behaviour became irritating but when he brought inappropriateness to new levels thanks to demonstrating racism, misogyny, mocking the disabled and boasting about sexual abuse my mind was blown as to how anyone could continue to support him and consider voting for him as their next president.

I gained a degree of comfort from the analysis and polls that have been a part of the daily narrative here for many months, all indicating that the American people would make a choice that would hopefully lead to a qualified candidate to take the reins from Obama, who has worked to improve the economy, address income inequality and access to healthcare, and achieve a balance of being a strong, sensible leader while also being a present father and family man.

Most Irish people can agree that guns have no place in society, not to mention military grade assault rifles that have been at the root of many of the mass shootings America has experienced. Gun control looked to be moving in the right direction under Clinton but Trump’s views in this space, as with most of his views are non-specific, ill informed and inflammatory. This aggressive rhetoric, amongst many other violent themes he’s conveyed in his speeches, rallies and online media highlight a character that is completely unpresidential and unworthy of being elected as such.

This is truly a dark day for America. We can only hope that a suitable team of advisors are put in place to keep him in check and refine his extremist intentions.

Ivan Harrow, San Francisco: ‘I believe American society will endure and prosper’

While I’m disappointed by the result, I believe American society will endure and prosper. This is a great country and one person won’t disrupt the innovation that is inherent in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. As President of the Irish Network in the Bay Area, I’m constantly amazed by the talent and ingenuity of Irish people who choose to move here and often set up businesses in this region. With new leaders there will always be challenges ahead but there’s too much at stake to stop progress. I’ve lived here for six years and witnessed an amazing and supportive growth environment. That will not change overnight, or even in four years.

Tracey Delaney, Boston: ‘Hillary supporters got complacent’

I am originally from Co Wexford. Here in Massachusetts, the mood is one of disappointment and despair. This state which is known for its universities such as Harvard and M.I.T., voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. As did I.

I think Hillary supporters got complacent and didn’t speak up against Trump. Even though the majority of people are getting their information from Facebook and other social media, there was a hesitancy among people to “talk politics” on their pages.

I feel let down, not just by Trump supporters but by those who voted third party or refused to speak up in favour of Hillary Clinton on their social media. The irony is, they’re all posting about it now....

Jennifer Daly, Indiana: ‘My heart is truly broken’

My heart is truly broken. I left Ireland on what seemed like a golden ticket opportunity almost six years ago. I got a Master of Education, made so many friends, and even found the love of my life over here. America is everything you hope it would be and more. I have never felt more of a sense of sadness and deflation as I have tonight. Not just in myself, but in everybody I have met. I am 28 years old, engaged to an American, and tonight as things got so bad, my American citizen fiancé looked at me and said “I don’t want to live here anymore”.

James Parsons, New York: ‘I am more hopeful about the future of the United States than I have ever been’

I am a dual citizen of the US and the Republic of Ireland (Co Galway), and am a 21-year-old student. I spent the night here in New York City watching the voting returns in a Midtown bar. After a night of drinking with friends and watching the Trump victory, I am more hopeful about the future of the United States than I have ever been.