What the World Thinks of a President Trump

Spoiler alert: From Europe to Asia to Latin America, the outlook isn’t very optimistic.

All hail, President Trump! What does the rest of the world think of our controversial choice for the Leader of the Free World?

Full disclosure: Duke and I fall into the half of America that was absolutely shocked, mortified and despondent that our next president will be a man who openly lies and regularly spouts sexist and racist remarks.

As we try to come to terms with the idea of a President Trump, we wanted to find out how the rest of the world felt. So we reached out to friends who live abroad or who have family there.

The French are scared like we are.
They keep asking why the overqualified candidate lost to someone with no experience. I can’t answer them.
— Michael, an American living in France

Not surprisingly, the rest of the world seems to be as freaked out as we are. –Wally

Brent, an American living in Taiwan

What a sad day, not only for the U.S. but for the whole world. I think America regressed 50 years today.

Walking down the streets of Taipei, I have always stuck out like a sore thumb: “Mommy, look, waiguoren [a foreigner].” As an American living in Taiwan, you get used to it, but walking the streets today I actually felt ashamed to be American. I felt the stares and whispers more than usual.

Taiwanese very rarely ever talk about politics outside of the home. It’s a bit taboo. Today was different. Many Taiwanese spoke to me, all in utter disbelief about our new president-elect: “How could Americans vote for such an evil person?” “Was there a mistake with the election?” “Can this be overturned?” They are all very scared, and rightfully so I believe.

Taiwanese have always respected and appreciated Americans in Taiwan (the U.S. has done a lot for Taiwan). I think that changed for the worse today, and I imagine that Trump’s crassness will only exacerbate that here in Taiwan and within the international community.

I’m still in shock that America chose this bigot. I’m hoping that I wake up in the morning and it’s all a joke. It is such a joke.

Malcolm, a Welshman living in the United States

On Guy Fawkes Night, Malcolm and his friends burned an effigy of Trump

Actually, we had a little Guy Fawkes Night bonfire for a few Chicago-based Welsh folks on November 5. It’s a tradition to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes — ours might have borne a passing resemblance to a certain president-elect.

A news crew from Wales stopped by to film it and do a few interviews. Though I don’t think the effigy burning made it past the editors, and just the interviews (in Welsh) aired back in Wales.

For the Lewes Bonfire Night, they burned an enormous Trump effigy.

And here are a few more from around the country.

My cousin in the U.K. did say, “I can’t believe how many Americans voted for this.”

On the bright side, at least we’re (the U.K.) no longer the dumbest country of 2016.


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Kent, an American living in France
Europeans are all concerned that democracy in America has completely died. Anti-American sentiment is already being regurgitated from the Bush years.

My boyfriend Michael, my friend Chris and I already had a share of verbal mockery when we were speaking English in the streets of Paris. Some guys were shouting, “Donald Trump” at us. Whether you voted for him or not, America as a whole is seen as responsible.

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel depicts Trump hurtling toward Earth like a giant meteor with the text, “The End of the World (As We Know It)”

The controversial satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo recently featured a cover that addresses Obama leaving office and the problem of police violence against blacks

Germans are shocked and appalled; they recognize this is the rise of America’s neo-national socialist movement.

Street interviews express disgust, awe and fear. People prefer saying they have zero opinion on Trump because he is not even worth commenting on.

My colleagues and even direct reports are inquiring how the ban on Muslims will impact future travel and training in the U.S. next year: “Will we be excused from our annual meeting in Florida next year?”

France is in a state of panic, as their presidential elections take place next year. The current socialist president, Hollande, has been weak and ineffective, leaving the door wide open for the opposing right, including the Front National, France’s most radical and very real neo-Nazi party. Trump’s win has emboldened and legitimized their campaign going into 2017 so much so that key experts are even predicting a potential win.

Unlike the U.S., any supporter in Europe of Trump’s ascension to power can only be a fellow nationalist and fascist. No middle ground on that.

Europe doesn’t even know how to engage the new American administration. Hollande didn’t even prepare a congratulations communiqué for Trump, as it seemed so unlikely — unfortunately the radical right beat him to the punch.

Europe is essentially as overwhelmed as the U.S. and plunged in an even deeper sense of uncertainty about the future. Germany fears a risk of a relationship breakdown, as they cannot support or work with any government that could cross over into the gray area of human rights violations.

By adding Trump’s win to the Brexit also spells an even more fragile situation for the stability of the European Union. Anti-globalization sentiment is further justified and confirmed now than it has ever been before.

American expats are reconsidering any plans to move back to the U.S. now.

While it’d be wonderful to feel Europe is so disconnected from the U.S., we’re here in our own, protected little island, but the realistic truth is that we’re tied and bolted to the U.S. in so many ways.

The media here is not timid or holding back on opinion. Trump is portrayed exactly as if the U.S. just voted in a fascist to government. Faith in democracy and our future is bleak.

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Andrea, a Puerto Rican living in the United States

With P.R., it gets a bit tricky because my mom’s generation (and older) and my generation have a very different reaction to this whole Trump situation. The simplest way of explaining it is as follows:

For some idiotic reason, millennials don’t want to be part of the U.S. — they want P.R. to become independent (even though we’ve been supported by the U.S. for so long that becoming independent would probably transform P.R. into a third world country like the Dominican Republic). But anyway, my generation’s reaction to Trump winning the presidency is, “Suck it, U.S.! You get what you deserve! You’ve become the circus of the world!”

My mom’s generation (and most of P.R.) on the other hand are very concerned. They are terrified that Trump will take away our citizenship. They are angry that the entire island is obligated to follow the U.S.’s laws and regulations, when they are not even allowed to vote for the U.S. president.

The island’s election happened the same day as the U.S. elections, and the PNP (Partido Nuevo Progresista) won. This party is the one that wants to do everything in their power to make the island a state. But now that Trump won, they’re not sure it’s the best time to request this, considering Trump is a racist and is threatening to take away our citizenship.

It’s a very complex situation.

Aneta, an American with family in Switzerland and Serbia

My Swiss family and I have had a lot of discussions about U.S. politics over the years. They are not fans of the U.S. political system and even refused to visit D.C. when they’ve come here. They seem to believe that our choice reflects the heart of the majority of Americans.

My family in Serbia are also not fans of the U.S. due to the bombings and intervention in the Yugoslav civil war in the ’90s and recently in Kosovo. They hold us responsible for the instability in the Middle East. They relish a bit in the election of Trump, who is seen as a caricature of American arrogance. I don’t think they like Hillary any better because Clinton was president during the civil war in Yugo and they see him responsible for the bombing of civilian schools, restaurants, bridges, etc.

I think their views are not different from most of the world, which is taking some delight in our dirty laundry being televised. But Europeans see our behavior now, with the protests, as American entitlement and temper tantrums. At the end of the day, we are one of the oldest democracies in the world and they respect that. If we believe in the process, we have to accept the results with dignity, even when it doesn’t go our way.

Morgan, an American living in the Netherlands

There are so many feelings and emotions about the recent election of Trump happening here in the Netherlands.

First of all, the entire presidential race was covered by almost every newspaper in the Netherlands. There were at least two articles a day giving the most recent gossip and news. This I found kind of shocking considering that it’s not their country and their election, but it just confirms the fact that the fate of the United States holds the fate of so much of the rest of the world.

Next, lots of people talked to me about the election before the big day. People from all walks of life knew all about it and wanted to tell me how they felt.

I volunteer at a homeless shelter, and one of the main points of conversation lots of the nights was about Trump and how crazy he is and how terrible and scary it would be if he were elected.

One of my other Dutch friends told me that to her Hillary was just the lesser of the two evils. We argued about how she thought Hillary needed to lighten up a bit and her worry that Bill would be involved in the presidency somehow.

The night of the election, we had another American couple over to watch the results. They showed up at 2 a.m. and we started out watching the bad news roll in. It wasn’t until 9 a.m. here that we watched Trump speak and announce his phone call with Clinton. At this point, the entire world lost its mind.

So many of my Dutch friends started texting with their condolences. Screenshots of Dutch Twitter accounts were sent to me by a few people, saying that the Netherlands is very scared for the results and worried about what this means for the future. Many others simply told us that we are always welcome to stay here.

Many people here have told me about their concern for the climate. Others have told me that they’re worried that something like this may happen with the Netherlands in March 2017. Geert Wilders, a very notorious conservative political figure, may now win the general elections. The fact that this has already happened in the U.S. doesn’t help.

This is the government news site for the Netherlands and what they say about Trump. It’s pretty direct and to the point — but it’s clear that they think this was a big mistake and a big step backwards. Newspapers from all over the world have had Trump's face on the front page for days.

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