International Leaders React to Trump's Victory

November 9th 2016

Mike Rothschild

Leaders around the world reached out to President-elect Donald Trump in the aftermath of his stunning victory, extending congratulations and offers to work together on a safer and more prosperous world.

— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a youth gathering "We're going to work with our neighbors, and I'm going to work with president-elect Trump's administration, as we move forward in a positive way for, not just Canadians and Americans, but the whole world." He also released a statement calling the trade relationship between the two nations "a model for the world."

— New British Prime Minister Theresa May congratulated U.S. President-elect Trump on winning "a hard-fought campaign," and stressing the two nations' "special relationship, based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise."

— Russian president Vladimir Putin hailed a chance to work with Trump for "the restoration of relations between Russia and the United States" in a telegram he sent on Wednesday morning. He also said that "a stable path of development [...] would have a positive impact on the climate of world affairs."

— German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the shared goals and cultural history in her congratulatory note to Trump, saying "Germany and America are connected by values: democracy, freedom, respect for the law and for the dignity of human beings, independently of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views."

— French President Francois Hollande, who had come out as a Hillary Clinton supporter, had a cautious reaction, saying Trump's election "opens a period of uncertainty. It must be faced with lucidity and clarity." He also spoke of confronting "certain positions" taken by Trump, and said that "what is at stake is peace, the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East. It is economic relations and the preservation of the planet."

— Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, who also endorsed Clinton, made a brief statement, which read "in the name of Italy, I congratulate the president of the United States and wish him well in his work, convinced that the Italian-American friendship remains strong and solid."

— Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took a different tone, warning Trump that "The results of the U.S. election have no effect on the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran," and dismissing Trump's plans to throw out the nuclear deal between Iran and six other world powers.

Trump's stated ambivalence toward the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO has left the Baltic nations unsure of their prospects in the event of Russian encroachment. Even so, their leaders all offered congratulations to Trump. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said "the people of the U.S. have made a decision, we will respect their choice... we trust the United States," while the office of Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis's issued a statement that he is looking forward "to close relations with the new U.S. administration." Newly elected Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid said the U.S. "has been, and will also continue to be one of Estonia's most important allies."


— NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg referenced Trump's campaign demand that member nations pay more for their own defense, warning Trump "NATO’s security guarantee is a treaty commitment and all allies have made a solemn commitment — a solemn commitment — to defend each other." Despite this, Stoltenberg reached out, saying he looked forward to meeting Trump at a NATO summit in spring.

— Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Trump in a telegram hoping for a constructive, respectful and conflict-free relationship, referencing Trump's threats of new tariffs on Chinese goods.

— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a complimentary statement, calling Trump "a true friend of the State of Israel," in reference to his rocky relationship with Barack Obama.

— Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Trump and lavished praise on his business background, saying Trump's election "is indeed the triumph of the American people and their enduring faith in the ideals of democracy, freedom, human rights and free enterprise."

— Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who publicly met with Trump in August to discuss Trump's proposed southern wall, called the president elect and arranged a meeting before January's inauguration.

— Controversial president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte exclaimed "I would like to congratulate Mr. Donald Trump. Long live!" during a visit to Malaysia. He praised Trump's penchant for a foul mouth, noting "We both curse at the slightest reason. We are alike." Presumably, Duterte will enjoy a better relationship with Trump than with President Obama, whom he told to "go to hell" for criticizing Duterte's violent crackdown on drug users in his country.

— Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a message of "heartfelt congratulations" to Donald Trump, praising him as "a very successful businessman with extraordinary talents" who had "made a great contribution to the growth of the U.S. economy" and "demonstrated his determination to lead the United States."