Donald Trump's election victory: How the world reacted to the political shock of the century

While political leaders in Russia and China welcomed the news, other nations responded with more cautious statements.


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It’s bigger than Brexit. Donald Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton and is on his way to becoming the most powerful person on Earth. The Republicans have sealed an historic victory by retaining control of the Senate. Around the world, politicians and personalities have begun reacting to the news. France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen was among the first to congratulate the new president elect. Her father also tweetd his congratulations:

Here in the UK, where an anti-racism protest is being planned for outside the US embassy tonight, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, released the below statement

“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 defence.

“I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.”

Meanwhile, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Trump’s victory as a “global wake up call” and said it highlighted “the need for a real alternative to a failed economic and political system”. While acknowledging that “many in Britain and elsewhere will be understandably shocked” by the result, Corbyn said it was further proof that inequality and that stagnating or falling living standards, both in the US and UK, were fuelling the rejection of “a political establishment and an economic system that simply isn’t working for most people.”

The interim Ukip leader, and Brexit mastermind, Nigel Farage tweeted his congratulations and later announced that he, along with his party’s key financial backer, Aaron Banks will be flying out to Washington DC imminently.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin has already sent his congratulations to the billionaire. The Russian president had openly signalled his preference for the billionaire throughout the campaign. The leader of Russia's nationalist Liberal Democratic party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, welcomed Trump’s success. According to the Interfax news agency, Zhirinovsky said: “We of course regard with satisfaction that the better candidate of the two presented to the American voters was victorious.”  He also said that he hopes the presumed Trump victory means that U.S. Ambassador John Tefft departs. He says, “We hope that this ambassador leaves Russia ... he hates Russia.”

The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who leads a right-wing coalition with a strong anti-immigration stance, hailed Trump's victory as "great news".

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor and one of the most powerful politicians in the Western world, who endured frequent attacks from Trump during the campaign, has said via a spokesman that the world is in "uncertain territory". 

Trump’s victory will also cause concern in Cuba where President Obama has worked hard to end more than 50 years of Cold War hostility. The normalisation process has sparked a tourist boom on the island which could now be under threat. Trump has promised to reverse the opening up unless President Raul Castro agrees to grant further political freedoms, a concession Castro is highly unlikely to grant. Leading Cuban economist and Communist Party member Esteban Morales told the Telesur network that “they must be worried because I think this represents a new chapter.”

Chinese state media, which has actively supported Trump's campaign, said his victory was the direct product of democracy. The state-run Xinhua News Agency has said that the election of the controversial Republican candidate just shows how America's democracy brings about crisis, in contrast to the stability of China's authoritarian rule.

In Japan which is far more wary of a Trump presidency, the yen surged and stocks stumbled at the news. On the campaign trail Trump has criticised the nation for not contributing enough to help fund United States military bases, calling into question America’s commitment to defend Japan in case of attack. Earlier this week, government officials had told Japanese journalists that  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would visit Washington to meet with Hillary Clinton in February. This morning, Abe tried to ease tensions saying: “Hand in hand with Trump, we will try to work together,” he said.


Serena Kutchinsky is the digital editor of the New Statesman.