News World Trump’s presidency inspires wild range of reactions

Trump’s presidency inspires wild range of reactions

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Shock, disbelief, anger, joy, elation – Americans woke the morning after Donald Trump’s stunning electoral victory struggling to understand how he’d done it and what it would mean for their country.

In the hours after the result became known, hundreds gathered outside the White House to chant profane slogans about their new leader. 

A protest broke out in downtown Portland and an angry mob in Berkeley, California marched through town chanting “Not our president”.

Smaller demonstrations were held at University of California campuses and neighbourhoods in Berkeley, Irvine and Davis and at San Jose State.

In Oakland, demonstrators set fire to a likeness of Trump, smashed store front windows including those of the Oakland Tribune newspaper, and set fire to rubbish and tyres.

In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland and forced train delays, burning American flags.

Despite the pockets of anger, Mr Trump’s vanquished rival, Hillary Clinton, finally broke her post-election silence, telling supporters he deserved to be received with “an open mind” and given “the chance to lead”.

Outgoing President, Barack Obama, also took a conciliatory tone, telling a lunchtime (Wednesday, US time) news conference that he would work to ensure a smooth transition to a Trump administration and that, despite their differences, we are “all rooting for his success.”

Mr Obama said that he and former president George W. Bush had had major differences eight years ago, but they managed a successful transition. He expected to do so with Mr. Trump and invited him to come to the White House on Thursday.

Mr Obama revealed he’d spoken to Mr Trump by phone about 3.30 am after his victory speech and was heartened by the conversation. He hoped the president-elect maintained that spirit.

Meanwhile, the US media, which was blind to the sentiment that elected Mr Trump, has begun chastising itself for its short-sightedness.

“The news media by and large missed what was happening all around it, and it was the story of a lifetime,” said an article in the The New York Times

Financial markets fell heavily following an ambush by their worst enemy – uncertainty – and the jitters spread from US polling stations to the trading desks of Asia to Europe.

Meanwhile, delirious supporters cheered Mr Trump’s elevation to Commander in Chief and their own stunning repudiation of Hillary Clinton. 

Trump voters didn’t care about the revelations of his sexual misconduct, but they did care about his promises – the Mexican wall, the immigration bans, the ripping up of free trade agreements.

High-falutin’ ideas like America’s place in the world were shoved aside for everyday concerns – jobs, fairness, social division. In his heavily-scripted victory speech Mr Trump spoke directly to the people who voted on those issues.

“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” he said.

That was how the victor celebrated. The vanquished did not even face the people on the night of her defeat, preferring to wait until just before midday on Wednesday.

Ms Clinton admitted the loss cut her deep. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time,” she said.

She also regretted that she did not shatter the glass ceiling. But, she said, “someday, someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now”.

Much earlier in the day, as her bid for the presidency faded to disappointment, thousands of her supporters were rendered numb, angry or even sorrowful about the verdict American voters were dishing out through the ballot box.

For Ms Clinton’s diehard supporters the result was devastating.

At New York’s Javits Convention Centre, where thousands of Democratic supporters had gathered to celebrate victory under an elaborate glass ceiling, the grim direction of the count lead to tears.

At an election day function held by Democrats Abroad in Melbourne on Wednesday, many of Ms Clinton’s young supporters were unable to contain their despair.

What was meant to be a celebration turned into a sad day for most at the gathering, said longstanding American expat Ersie Burke.

“The election of Barack Obama in 2008 inspired a lot of young Americans living in Australia to join our organisation,” Ms Burke said.

“I had to play mother to quite a few of them as the bad news filtered through. Many were in absolute tears.”

They were not alone. Germany described it as a “huge shock”. The French said Mr Trump’s personality “raised questions”. The Swedes said “fasten seat belts.” 

Mexico’s foreign minister has reasserted that her government will not pay for a wall along the US border. Claudia Ruiz Massieu told local television that was not part of the country’s vision.

She said the Mexico government had maintained communication with Trump’s campaign team since the property mogul paid a visit in August.

Later she told CNN Mexico would work closely with the new government to make sure its citizens’ rights were protected – but steadfastly avoided commenting directly on the wall.

Mexico President Pena Nieto said he was ready to work with Trump to improve bilateral relations, and that the two countries would continue to tighten bonds of cooperation and mutual respect.

The election result has ripped the heart out of the peso – Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim, saw $4.7 billion ($A6.15 billion) shaved off his fortune.

Politicians on the fringes applauded the result. Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France’s right-wing National Front, said: “Today the United States, tomorrow France!”

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Mr Trump on his victory.

“Putin expressed hope for joint work to restore Russian-American relations from their state of crisis, and also to address pressing international issues and search for effective responses to challenges concerning global security,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said: “A less confrontational US foreign policy will unlock major opportunities for joint (Russia-US) trade and investment.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken with the president-elect by phone and Mr Trump has invited him to a meeting “at the first opportunity”, Netanyahu’s office says.

The conversation was “hearty and warm” and regional issues were discussed, the office said, adding: “The Prime Minister congratulated Trump on his electoral win and told him that the United States has no better ally than Israel”.

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