World leaders react to Donald Trump’s shock win
Vladimir Putin hopes incoming president can ease ‘crisis’ in US-Russia ties
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, pictured at a reception newly-arrived foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin on Wednesday, wished Donald Trump success on his election as US president. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/EPA
The Kremlin was quick to congratulate Donald Trump on Wednesday morning and Russia’s lower house of parliament broke into applause when the result of the US presidential election was announced.
“In a telegram [Russia’s president] Vladimir Putin expressed hope for joint work on leading Russian-American relations out of a crisis situation, and on resolving current questions on the international agenda, and in looking for effective answers to the challenges of global security,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Mr Putin “also expressed confidence that the building of a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington, based on principles of equality, mutual respect and real consideration for each other’s positions, answers the interests of the people of our countries and the whole international community.”
“V Putin wished D Trump success in such important work as head of state,” the statement said.
Mr Trump has repeatedly praised the leadership of the autocratic Mr Putin, who has overseen the emasculation of Russian media and opposition during almost 17 years in power as president and prime minister.
He has also reasserted Moscow’s influence over former Soviet states, sent Russian troops into Georgia and Ukraine and massively boosted the power of the country’s security services and military, alarming Nato states in central Europe.
Mr Putin has called Mr Trump “a striking and talented person”, and Russian politicians and state media backed him against Hillary Clinton, whom they portray as the embodiment of a hawkish and “anti-Russian” US establishment.
“Here’s the analysis of why America voted for Trump: the extremely complex situation in the world, Hillary threatens war, and for her Russia is the main enemy. Of course, most Americans want a quiet life,” said veteran populist and ultra-nationalist party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
“We are of course happy to see that in the USA the best of these two candidates won...let grandma Hillary have a rest,” Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
Mr Zhirinovsky also said he hoped for the withdrawal of the current US ambassador to Moscow, John Tefft.
“He hates Russia,” Mr Zhirinovsky said, adding that he expected Mr Trump’s White House to move towards lifting sanctions that were placed on Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea and fomenting a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“Everything will calm down in Ukraine and things will move towards the lifting of sanctions, and in the Middle East everything will calm down, and the whole of humanity will breathe a sigh of relief,” he said.
Aleksei Pushkov, a prominent pro-Putin deputy and commentator on international affairs, said that “playing the ‘Russian card’ and scaring people with Putin didn’t help Clinton.”
“On the contrary, her bet on conflict with Moscow caused fear, and served her badly.”
The Kremlin has been heartened by Mr Trump’s suggestions that he might reduce support for Nato and US involvement in Europe, where the outgoing White House administration helped Ukraine and other central European states to resist Russian pressure.
When congratulating Mr Trump, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko expressed hope that Washington would continue to aid the country’s “battle against Russian aggression” and efforts to slash corruption and overhaul the economy.
Mr Trump’s victory was welcomed by European populist politicians, who share his opposition to immigration and desire for a rapprochement with Russia.
“What a great news,” he added. “Democracy is still alive.” Daniel McLaughlin
Theresa May congratulated Donald Trump on his election and expressed confidence that the special relationship between Britain and the United States would remain as strong as before. Ukip leader Nigel Farage welcomed Mr Trump’s victory and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the outcome as “an unmistakable rejection” of the political establishment.
In a letter to Mr Trump, the prime minister said the ties between Britain and the United States were based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise, and she spoke of their close partnership on trade, security and defence.
Mr Farage, who campaigned with Mr Trump, said the political establishment throughout the western world should prepare for further economic shocks.
“Voters across the Western world want nation state democracy, proper border controls and to be in charge of their own lives. I commend Donald Trump for the courage with which he has fought this campaign and I look forward to a closer relationship between the USA and the UK. We now have a President who likes our country and understands our post-Brexit values. Prepare for further political shocks in the years to come,” he said.
Mr Corbyn described Mr Trump’s election as an unmistakable rejection of a political establishment and an economic system that was not working for most people.
“It is one that has delivered escalating inequality and stagnating or falling living standards for the majority, both in the US and Britain. 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,” he said. Denis Staunton
Donald Trump’s victory was widely interpreted as a sign that Marine Le Pen, the leader of the extreme right-wing Front national (FN), could become France’s next president six months from now.
Though reaction among socialists was negative, several hoped Mr Trump’s election would lead the fragmented party to unite. “The left has been warned! If we continue our irresponsible childishness, it will be Marine Le Pen,” first secretary Jean-Christophe Cambadélis predicted.
“Congratulations to the new president of the United States Donald Trump and to the free American people!” Ms Le Pen tweeted. Her partner, the FN vice president Louis Aliot, tweeted: “Eight months of global propaganda swept away by the people at the ballot box.
Uncle Sam has told an arrogant elite where to go.” Trump’s election was also perceived as an aftershock of the Brexit vote. The former prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who supports the conservative presidential candidate Alain Juppé, said, “Since Brexit, the frontline of reason no longer exists. That means the main lesson for us French is that Marine Le Pen can win in France.”
Mr Juppé’s advisors rejected suggestions that his candidacy resembles Hillary Clinton’s, while his rival for the conservative nomination, the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, saw Mr Trump’s victory as a sign that his own anti-elite rhetoric may win. Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador to Washington, tweeted: “After Brexit and this election, everything is possible.
A world is collapsing before our eyes. Vertigo.” Mr Araud erased the message, deemed un-diplomatic, a few minutes later. President Francois Hollande was frank about the dangers of a Mr Trump victory in recent months, but was more guarded on Wednesday.
At the end of June, Mr Hollande said Mr Trump’s election “would complicate relations between Europe and the US. His slogans differ little from those of the extreme right in Europe and in France: fear of the migratory wave, stigmatisation of Islam, doubts about representative democracy, the denunciation of elites…”
In August, Mr Hollande called Mr Trump’s remarks about a Muslim soldier in the US army who was killed in Iraq “nauseating, hurtful and humiliating.” On Wednesday, Mr Hollande said “I congratulate [Mr Trump] on his victory, as is natural between two heads of democratic states.” But, he warned, “This American election opens a period of uncertainty… I will engage the new administration in a discussion right away, but I will do it with vigilance and frankness…”
Prime minister Manuel Valls, who has denounced the “Trumpisation of the minds” of some on the French right, said the Americans’ “sovereign choice ... must be faced while remaining faithful to our values.”
Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault last month called Mr Trump’s remarks about women “sordid”. On Wednesday, Mr Ayrault asked “What will happen to the Paris accord on the climate, the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, which Donald Trump calls into question? These are essential questions that we are already asking.”
French media were overwhelmingly negative. “The unthinkable is happening,” Patrick Cohen, the presenter on France-Inter radio’s morning news said repeatedly. “Trumpocalypse” was the headline of Libération’s special edition. “Anger has won,” said Le Monde’s front-page editorial. Lara Marlowe
European Union & Nato
Senior political figures from across Europe congratulated Mr Trump as the shock news of his electoral victory was absorbed in national capitals.
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said he “looked forward” to working with the president-elect and welcoming him to Brussels for next year’s Nato summit. Mr Trump placed doubts on America’s commitment to the transatlantic security alliance throughout his campaign and has expressed support for Russia, Nato’s main security foe in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine. Mr Stoltenberg said the US leadership was “as important as ever.”
“We face a challenging new security environment, including hybrid warfare, cyber attacks, the threat of terrorism. US leadership is as important as ever. Our Alliance has brought together America’s closest friends in times of peace and of conflict for almost 70 years. A strong Nato is good for the United States, and good for Europe,” he said.
In a joint letter to Mr Trump, the heads of the European Commission and European Council Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk extended their “sincere congratulations” to the president-elect and invited him to visit Brussels at his “earliest convenience.”
“Today, it is more important than ever to strengthen transatlantic relations,” they wrote. “Only by co-operating closely can the EU and the US continue to make a difference when dealing with unprecedented challenges such as Daesh [the terror group also known as Islamic State], the threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, climate change and migration.”
“The strategic partnership between the European Union and the United States is rooted in our shared values of freedom, human rights, democracy and a belief in the market economy,” they said.
European Parliament president Martin Schulz congratulated Mr Trump, adding that the democratic will of the American people must be respected. “Mr Trump has managed to become the standard-bearer of the angst and fears of millions of Americans. Those concerns must now be addressed with credible policies and proposals,” he said, though he added that the campaign “will not be remembered as America’s finest. Vitriol and polarisation have fuelled this electoral contest. President Trump will have the daunting task of bringing together a divided nation.”
Ukip founder Nigel Farage, who campaigned for the Republican Party nominee during the election in the United States, also welcomed the result. He said he would consider a role in Mr Trump’s administration, though declined to confirm if talks had already taken place. Suzanne Lynch
Chancellor Angela Merkel offered conditional congratulations to Mr Trump, vowing a close co-operation on the basis of shared values that respect democracy and difference.
Praising the US as an “old and honorable democracy”, Dr Merkel said Germany and the US were united by common values: democracy, freedom, respect for the law and the dignity of humans irrespective of background, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views.
“On the basis of these values, I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, a close co-operation,” she said.
Dr Merkel said she respected the decision of American voters to hand Mr Trump responsibility for far-reaching US influence in the world. Germany’s partnership with the US was – and would remain – a foundation stone of German foreign policy and was crucial to managing the challenges of our time, from battling poverty and disease to fighting terrorism.
But her terse statement, which took less than three minutes to deliver, reflected a deep feeling of unease in Germany as the country’s political establishment has braced itself for a new era of unpredictable unilateralism with Mr Trump.
And, as Berlin marked the fall of its hated wall in 1989 on Wednesday, German leaders – through gritted teeth – vowed to work as best they can with a man who has vowed to build a “great” wall with Mexico.
Across German political lines, in private and in public on social media, the term “nightmare” or even “f**king nightmare” were in regular use.
Even Berlin’s chief diplomat, foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, who has previously described Mr Trump as a “hate preacher”, struggled to remain diplomatic on Wednesday as he recalled the president-elect’s “critical words” about Germany’s refugee policy in the campaign.
“We have to ready ourselves for a US foreign policy that will be less predictable for us,” he said, “and we have to be ready ... that the US will tend to decide things more for itself.”
That sentiment echoed across the German political establishment, with repeated calls for Europe to stand together – in particular militarily – should Mr Trump’s elections mark a new era of uncertainty.
Defence minister Ursula von der Leyen said the election, “though drenched in vilification, in division, is a free democratic vote”.
“We have to deal with the realities,” she said. In a nod to Mr Trump’s criticisms of European Nato members riding on the US’s coat-tails, she said: “Europe will have to get ready to take better care of itself.”
After coming out heavily for Hillary Clinton, Germany’s political and media establishment worked hard to catch their breath on Wednesday.
“Why did 50 million people vote this way, and why are we so surprised by this?” he asked on Twitter.
Alone, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) welcomed the result as a “good signal for the world and the change of an era”.
AfD leader Frauke Petry, with an eye on Germany’s federal election next year, said: “This result gives hope to Germany and Europe, because Trump has the map for political change in his hand.”
Her enthusiasm for a president Trump was not shared in Kallstadt, ancestral home of the Trump family in Germany’s western state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
In the Appel family butcher, home to pork belly specialities once favoured by chancellor Helmut Kohl, customers discussed the outcome with curiosity and concern. A butcher shop staff member, who asked not to be named, said she sensed no jubilation in the town at the news.
“I never would have believed it was possible and, to be honest, amongst ourselves we never really talked about him,” she said. “I’m not that happy, to be honest, because he is not my kind of guy.” Derek Scally
Despite Mr Trump’s occasional description of China during the campaign as a pariah stealing American jobs and manipulating its yuan currency to make trade unfair, Beijing’s reaction to his was almost upbeat.
President Xi Jinping sent a message of congratulations in a telegram, and foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was ready to work with the new administration to boost bilateral relations.
“While we do not comment on the US process and election result, we look forward to working together with the new US administration to push forward sustained, healthy and stable China-US relations, which will benefit the two countries and people of the world,” Mr Lu said in response to questions.
US-China trade relations were mutually beneficial, he said, and major powers like the US and China could handle things well.
The Chinese take on the US election has been typically pragmatic throughout, and while there is no democracy in China, there is a strong awareness of how campaigning works.
Outgoing finance minister Lou Jiwei described Mr Trump as an “irrational type” for his calls for tougher trade conditions for China, including hiking tariffs on Chinese imports to 45 per cent. But he said one should not take too seriously the language of the election campaign.
Zhang Wei, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, told the China Daily newspaper that as a businessman, Mr Trump’s thinking was naturally different from traditional US politicians. “So, theoretically, Trump would bring more new ideas to the US political system, which could be a good thing. Plus, Trump knows how to do business with other countries, which could do good to economic ties between China and US,” Mr Zhang said.
The China Daily also quoted Harvey Dzodin, a senior adviser to Tsinghua University and former director and vice-president of ABC Television in New York, saying that relations were bound to take a turn for the worse.
“Judging from Trump’s comments and the Republican National Committee platform, Sino-US relations will definitely emphasise the second syllable of “frenemies”, Mr Dzodin said. “China can look forward to economic warfare from punitive US tariffs and trade barriers. Trump wants to upend the post-1945 world order, end alliances, close military bases in places like Japan and Korea and let allies fend for themselves.
“ However this is merely an educated guess because we don’t know who will advise Trump and if he will listen to them, but they’re likely to be seasoned cold warriors and neoconservatives, the likes of whom brought us the ‘liberation’ of Iraq and other disasters for which the world still suffers mightily.” Clifford Coonan
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations to Donald Trump and said he looked forward to working closely with him to take bilateral relations between the two sides to a ‘new high’.
“We appreciate the friendship you have articulated towards India during your campaign,” Mr Modi said.
During his election campaign Mr Trump courted Indian-American voters, even releasing a campaign advertisement in Hindi last month for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
In it Mr Trump had adapted a catchphrase used by Mr Modi during his successful 2014 prime ministerial campaign, declaring “Ab ki bar, Trump ki Sarkar” or “This time a Trump government”.
But the overall reaction to Mr Trump’s victory was one of disbelief, as most Indians were convinced that Hillary Clinton would ultimately prevail in the divisive and contentious election,
“It’s amazing that Trump has won, given the long odds most opinion polls were giving him,” said political activist Seema Mustafa. Mr Trump had defied all odds to achieve what most people thought was undoable, she added.
Even official India, influenced by numerous polls, had concentrated its efforts in wooing Mrs Clinton who, along with her husband Bill, have had a long and warm association with Delhi.
“We got it badly wrong” admitted a senior security official. “We did not invest adequately in Trump who was an unknown entity with little or no experience in public affairs or governance,” he stated.
Political analysts said there were many similarities between Mr Trump and Mr Modi.
Both were dogged, willful and self-made politicians, outspoken and offensive and outsiders amongst established power elites in Delhi and Washington.
And much like Mr Modi, who faced a hostile and carping media during India’s 2014 elections for his perceived dictatorial proclivity and outlook, Mr Trump successfully employed social networking platforms for campaigning.
“Trump’s impact in the realm of foreign policy will upend many established pillars of traditional US policy,” said Meera Shankar, former Indian ambassador to Washington.
It would influence the US’s visa regime, defence and diplomatic ties and trade relations with numerous countries, she added.
Other Indian foreign policy and security analysts, however, believe that as president Mr Trump would be more likely than any of his recent predecessors to pressure Pakistan by threatening to sever US aid.
During his campaign Mr Trump called Pakistan “probably the most dangerous country in the world” and, much to Delhi’s delight, declared that India needed to be involved in “checking” it.
“India is the check to Pakistan. I would start talking at that level very quickly” he said in a sharp change of tone from earlier US presidential candidates.
Politically and diplomatically India has been close to US Republican Party, which in recent years was responsible in assisting it in securing a civil nuclear agreement whilst retaining its strategic weapons programme and in drawing the two countries strategically and militarily closer. Rahul Bedi