World media reacted largely with astonishment and awe to the news of Donald Trump’s win in the U.S. presidential election on Wednesday morning. Many world politicans, however, were slow to respond — apart from those seen as allies of the president-elect including Vladimir Putin and France’s Marine Le Pen.
The UK, which experienced its own seismic political earthquake earlier this year with its stunning Brexit vote in June, awoke to media outlets awash with the shock news that America had elected a property tycoon billionaire with no experience in political office for its next president.
Left-leaning British paper The Guardian lead with the headline “Trump victory stuns world” in the morning hours.
Its contributor Jonathan Freedland wrote a column headlined: “The U.S. has elected its most dangerous leader. We all have plenty to fear.” The weekly columnist began: “We thought the United States would step back from the abyss. We believed, and the polls led us to feel sure, that Americans would not, in the end, hand the most powerful office on Earth to an unstable bigot, sexual predator and compulsive liar.” He added the U.S. today stood “as a source of fear.”
Right-leaning UK paper The Telegraph‘s deputy political editor Steven Swinford opined that Trump’s dramatic victory could offer a glimmer of hope for a post-Brexit trade deal, noting that Trump had said the country would be “treated fantastically” after Brexit, a stark contrast to outgoing U.S. president Barack Obama’s view. Concerns were raised on what the results would mean for British Prime Minster Theresa May who had previously labeled Trump a “buffoon” in MP debates.
By 8:40AM GMT, the BBC noted a “stunning silence” from international politicians. One of the first to offer a handshake from afar, Russian president Vladimir Putin congratulated Trump on his win, saying he hoped that Russian-American relations would be “taken out of crisis.”
Even before the result was officially called, France’s far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen offered congratulations. France is in the throes of its own presidential election, which will be decided in May next year, and the anti-immigration National Front has increasingly gained a footing over the past few years. Le Pen tweeted: “Congratulations to the new president of the United States Donald Trump and to the free American people!”
Félicitations au nouveau président des Etats-Unis Donald Trump et au peuple américain, libre ! MLP
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) November 9, 2016
Hours after the election results were called, Downing Street issued a statement from May congratulating Trump on the result 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.”
As for the Brit tabloids, the Daily Mail blared “WELCOME TO TRUMPLAND,” dubbing the result “Revenge of the Deplorables: The most extraordinary Presidential campaign in modern history ends in utter humiliation for Hillary, the pollsters, and the elites of business, media and showbusiness as the voters America forgot sweet Donald to a stunning victory.” The Mirror noted, “11/9 is the new 9/11″: Americans liken Trump’s win to most devastating day in country’s history.”
In France, French president François Hollande took time to speak, ultimately congratulating Trump (with typically French sang-froid) “as is natural between two heads of democratic states.” He added, “What is in play is peace, the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, economic relations and the preservation of the planet.”
France’s 24-hour news networks continued blanket coverage throughout the morning, carrying Trump’s victory speech with a focus on world markets. After following the election results early in the AM, national terrestrial network France 2 switched back to regular programming.
French paper Le Figaro led with the headline “The election of Donald Trump plunges world into uncertainty” while left-leaning paper Liberation is running a profile of “Donald Trump, a president who came out of nowhere.” Business daily Les Echos noted Tuesday night as “The crazy night that changed the world” while Le Monde’s website was down on Wednesday morning.
A senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party said on German radio early Wednesday morning that “geopolitically we are in a very uncertain situation” and its Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier eventually stated: “The result is not what most of Germany would have wished but of course we accept it… We don’t know how Trump will run America. There are many burning questions that even in our endeavors in the past few days remain open.” But he reassured Germany that it has strong ties to America and will look for discussion. Euronews reported “concern in world capitals today” particularly over trade.
Italy‘s press echoed the shockwaves reverberating throughout most of Europe. La Repubblica said “Trump president vote shocks in the U.S.” while Corriere Della Sera again quoted the president-elect, “The triumph of Trump: ‘I will be president of all, it is time to unite’.” The latter’s commentator Beppe Severgnini wrote “Bruce Springsteen’s nation danced in the dark and it ended up in the arms of Donald Trump.”
Official Chinese press websites in English led with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s vist to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin and noted Trump’s win below. The Xinhua state news agency wrote: “China said Wednesday it expected to make joint efforts with the new U.S. government to maintain sustained, healthy and stable growth of China-U.S. relations and benefit people of the two countries of the world.”
China and the U.S. are currently negotiating a new trade agreement with regard to the film industry, which is expected to impact the amount of U.S. movies allowed into the Middle Kingdom.