The 2016 election is over, and Donald Trump will become the next president of the Unites States. These words instill a sense of triumph and relief for those who voted for him, but represent fear and uncertainty for those who didn’t.
While the U.S. is facing a sharp cultural divide that manifested itself dramatically during an especially contentious and controversial election year, there’s the rest of the world to consider as well. Many foreign leaders have been watching the story of America unfold and have their own opinions of Donald Trump to add to the mix.
Christopher Pyne, Australian Government Minister
Australia is a staunch ally of the United States and much of Australian culture is modeled on American culture, but that doesn’t mean that their politicians are huge fans of Donald Trump.
Christopher Pyne, who serves as a minister of the Australian government, had this to say: “It’s terrifying. We are seeing in America these terrible rallies occurring where the people are becoming violent. Now, democracy should be robust, but it certainly shouldn’t be violent. And I think the Donald Trump phenomenon is a real problem for the United States — it’s making their democracy look kind of weird.”
Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines President
During the election campaign, Duterte came to power in the Philippines. His controversial extra-judicial campaign to execute all drug users and dealers in his country has led to something of a fallout with America.
He outlined his new stance as, “America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow. And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”
Fortunately, most commentators think this is simply a bluff to try and strengthen his hand for negotiating with the new Trump administration.
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
The election seems to have forged an informal and loose allegiance between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump. That doesn’t mean, however, that all Russians are dancing in the streets over this election.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said, “Well, I don’t know what this would. … English is not my mother tongue, I don’t know if I would sound decent. There are so many pussies around the presidential campaign on both sides that I prefer not to comment on this.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for either candidate who ran in the campaign.
Pope Francis, The Leader of the Catholic Faith
Pope Francis is generally considered to be one of the best papal appointees in a long time. He’s been making near constant reforms to the church which have been desperately needed to make Catholicism and its perspective more relevant to the modern era.
However, he didn’t pull his punches when Donald Trump started to deride Mexican immigrants during his candidacy, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
Mr. Trump wasn’t happy about that, saying: “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”
Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister
Every time there’s an election in the United States, a large number of people threaten to emigrate to Canada if their chosen candidate loses. Of course, in practice, they rarely do this, but Canada’s Prime Minister is ready with open arms if they do decide to move.
“The fact is, Cape Breton is lovely all times of the year and if people do want to make choices that perhaps suit their lifestyles better, Canada is always welcoming and opening.” he told the world.
We think it’s unlikely that the Canadian immigration team will be overrun with Americans any time soon.
François Hollande, French President
The French President is suffering from a major case of unpopularity with his own people, but it didn’t stop him from hitting out at Donald Trump. He said, “His excesses end up giving a retching feeling, even in the US, especially when — as was Donald Trump’s case — he speaks ill of a soldier, of the memory of a soldier….”
He then indicated that President Trump would be hugely damaging for democracy and that his approach was simply too authoritarian for other nations to continue easy cooperation with America.
It won’t be his call to make for France as it is certain that he will lose this year’s Presidential election.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the German Foreign Minister and he’s concerned about what he sees as an increasingly isolationist message from the United States as delivered by President-elect Donald Trump.
It’s worth noting that much of what caused World War II and enabled it to go on for as long as it did is viewed, in Europe, as being caused by American isolation.
Frank-Walter said, “I can only hope that the election campaign in the USA does not lack the perception of reality… The world’s security architecture has changed and it is no longer based on two pillars alone. It cannot be conducted unilaterally.”
Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Prince
It’s not surprising that the country that considers itself the home to the Muslim faith because of the holy mosques of Mecca and Medina falling within its borders, had something to say about Mr. Trump’s inflammatory statements on how he thought America should be dealing with Muslims.
Turki Al-Faisal said, “For the life of me, I cannot believe that a country like the United States can afford to have someone as president who simply says, ‘These people are not going to be allowed to come to the United States.”
Given the strong relationship between Saudi and the U.S., he’s probably going to have to work through this with Mr. Trump.
Bashar Assad, President of Syria
We’re not sure how much attention this really deserves. President Assad has been only too happy to use chemical weapons on his own people, after all.
However, he was reasonably ambivalent about the presidential race when he said, “Their mainstream politics are at [an] all-time low, that’s how we see it … We always hope that next [U.S.] president will be much wiser than previous one, less pyromaniac as I said, less militaristic, adventurous president. That’s what we hope. But we never saw. The difference is very marginal. So we keep hoping, but we don’t bet on that hope.”
Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the United States
Japan’s ties with America have grown much stronger since the end of the Second World War. The people of Japan have forgiven, if not forgotten, the atomic destruction of two cities and in peace have built a surprisingly powerful economy and position of leadership in the world.
Their ambassador to the United States, Kenichiro Sasae, has expressed some concerns regarding the outcome of the U.S. Presidential race: “In the presidential elections, there are arguments whether the United States is going for the isolationist stance. I don’t want to see that kind of United States. I want to see the United States to be strong and come with a strong robust position, not really thinking of the United States only.”
Boris Johnson, Foreign Office Minister, United Kingdom
The UK has been a traditional ally of the United States, but Boris Johnson has always been something of a law unto himself when dealing with the media.
When Mr. Trump alleged that the United Kingdom was a hotbed of radical terrorism, Boris was quick to respond, “Donald Trump’s ill-informed comments are complete and utter nonsense. Crime has been falling steadily in both London and New York — and the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.”
Ouch. Of course, that presumes that Donald Trump would want to meet Boris Johnson too.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister
In a surprising attack from one of America’s closest allies – on an issue that most people would have suspected Israel to take a different stance on – Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, felt compelled to speak out against the temporary ban on Muslim immigration announced by Mr. Trump during his campaign.
His office released this statement, “Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims. The state of Israel respects all religion and strictly adheres to the rights of all its citizens.”
They then went on to cancel a meeting between Mr. Trump and the Prime Minister in a fairly public fashion.
DPRK Today, North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which isn’t terribly democratic in practice, was a surprising backer of the Trump campaign when Trump issued a statement that suggested he’d make South Korea pay more for their protection by U.S. armed forces.
DPRK Today is the country’s only newspaper, and essentially an official mouthpiece of the leadership. They said: “It turns out that Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate.”
Mr. Trump probably wanted to take a bath after reading that. It’s not the kind of backing he probably wanted.
Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Foreign Minister, Mexico
It would be fair to say that much of the incendiary rhetoric of Donald Trump’s campaign was aimed at the Mexican people living in and outside of the United States.
So it’s not surprising that their foreign minister was happy to retort, “Today in the 21st century, here in the United States, a climate of intolerance is sending a similar message: Mexicans go home. Separate those who are different, blame the minorities, demonize the stranger.”
Claudia Ruiz Massieu feels that much of the language used during the campaign was similar to that used by Hitler when demonizing the Jewish people prior to the Second World War.
Hong Lei, Chinese Foreign Ministry
Hong Lei is a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry and he said of the presidential race, “What needs to be pointed out is that the essence of Sino-US trade and business cooperation is mutually beneficial and win-win, and accords with the interests of both sides. We hope people in all fields can rationally and objectively view this relationship.”
Hong Lei’s probably feeling a bit hot under the collar given that the President-elect seems to have the Sino-US trade relationship under a microscope as one of his major pre-office tasks. Who knows how it will turn out in the long run?
Kim Sung-han, Former Vice Foreign Minister of South Korea
South Korea feels that it has every right to worry about a change in the American Presidency. With the world’s most hostile state on their doorstep in the form of North Korea, the country needs strong allies.
Kim Sung-han, Former Vice Foreign Minister of South Korea, said, “Saying the U.S. will no longer engage in anything that is a burden in terms of its relationships with allies, it would be almost like abandoning those alliances … It will inevitably give rise to anti-American sentiment worldwide.”
In fairness to Mr. Trump, his recent actions suggest that the South Koreans have nothing to worry about with regards to American support in their region.
Sigmar Gabriel, German Economy Minister
Things haven’t always been plain sailing between the United States and Germany, but in the last few decades, the two nations have become firm allies.
This may change under a Trump presidency as many German politicians, including Sigmar Gabriel – the German Economy Minister – see his popularity as a sign of something sinister in global politics. He said, “Whether Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders — all these right-wing populists are not only a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development.”
Trump’s supporters would note that focusing on those left behind under the current system would seem to be a more radical socially-focused policy than those provided by other politicians.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen – Former NATO Secretary-General
Donald Trump has indicated that he’d like to see a re balancing of NATO and for members to pay a more equal share for membership than they do at the moment.
However, his appointment will be welcomed by Former NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is of the opinion that U.S. strategy in this area has been weak for too long. “When America retrenches and retreats, it leaves behind a vacuum, and that vacuum is filled by bad guys.”
This seems to be a point that’s up for some heated debate as the President-elect takes up his new role.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish President
It’s fair to say that Trump’s path to the White House burned a few bridges with Muslim communities, particularly after he spoke out to demand an all-out ban on Muslim immigration.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, was not happy about this at all and he made his views plain, “A successful politician would not make such statement, as there are millions of Muslims living in the U.S. What will happen? Will he set aside all relationships with Muslim countries? A politician shouldn’t talk like this.”
It remains to be seen how Mr. Trump will address Muslim concerns when he takes up his role in the White House.
Vladimir Putin, Russian President
Mr. Putin’s a controversial figure in his own right; he is seen by some as the strong leader Russia needs and by others as a corrupt and divisive influence.
He was also accused of interfering in the election and here’s what he had to say about it, “Hysteria has been whipped up in the United States about the influence of Russia over the U.S. presidential election … It’s much simpler to distract people with so-called Russian hackers, spies, and agents of influence. Does anyone really think that Russia could influence the American people’s choice in any way? Is America a banana republic or what? America is a great power. Please correct me if I’m wrong.”