- Obama promises smooth transition
- Clinton offers to work with president-elect, says this is not the outcome we wanted
Joseph Ushigiale in Lagos, Tobi Soniyi and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Zacchaeus Somorin in Washington DC with agency report
President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday joined other world leaders to congratulate Mr. Donald Trump, who prevailed over his main rival, Secretary Hilary Clinton, to emerge as the President-elect of the United States of America in last Tuesday’s presidential election.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the president also congratulated Americans on the successful outcome of the election.
Buhari said he looked forward to working with Trump to strengthen the already established friendly relations between both countries, including cooperation on many shared foreign policy priorities, such as the fight against terrorism, peace and security, economic growth, democracy and good governance.
“As Mr Trump prepares to assume the position of the President of the United States, I extend my good wishes to you on the onerous task of leading the world’s strongest economy,” he said.
Other world leaders who greeted Trump on his victory yesterday included the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mrs Theresa May, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, French President François Hollande, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi Boris Pahor, and the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy.
The European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) were also in toe to hail the new US leader.
Finding their voices after the shocking defeat, President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party candidate, Mrs Clinton, spoke about an urgent need to reconcile Americans after one of the most cantankerous electioneering in recent American history.
The president promised to work for a smooth transition of power to Trump, when he leaves office in January, citing the example set by former President George W. Bush eight years ago.
“I had a chance to talk to President-elect Trump last night at 3:30 in the morning to congratulate him on winning the election and invited him to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure there is a successful transition between our two presidencies,” Obama said from the White House Rose Garden with Vice-President Joe Biden at his side.
Obama campaigned hard against Trump to boost his former Secretary of State, Clinton, who conceded the race in an earlier speech yesterday morning. “It is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences,” Obama said, adding later, that “we all want what’s best for this country”.
According to CNN, many of the White House staff who had come out to hear the president speak were emotional immediately preceding his remarks. Obama sought to comfort his supporters and the Clinton campaign, saying he was “heartened” by a message of unity and inclusion when he spoke with Trump on the phone.
“I hope that he maintains that spirit throughout this transition and I certainly hope that’s how his presidency will begin,” Obama said. Obama praised his staff for working relentlessly on behalf of the American people, saying the America Trump inherits is better than the one he was handed in 2008.
“Everyone on my team should be extraordinarily proud of everything they have done,” Obama said, adding: “Everybody is sad when their side loses an election. The day after, we have to remember we’re all on the same team.”
Earlier in the day, Clinton had formally and publicly conceded to Trump. “Last night I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans,” she said.
“This is not the outcome that we wanted,” Clinton stated, adding: “I’m sorry that we did not win this election. This is painful and it will be for a long time.”
At one point, Clinton spoke to her younger supporters, saying that they may have career setbacks later, but must carry on.
“This loss hurts but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it,” she said. She also addressed her female supporters, who had hoped that she would make history by being elected the first female president.
“To all the women and especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. Now, I know, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day, someone will,” she said.
Last night, Trump praised Clinton in his victory speech, saying the former secretary of state had called to concede.
He thanked his opponent for her service to the country, saying that it was time for the country to come together as one united people.
“I pledge that I will be president for all Americans,” he said.
He promised to rebuild “inner cities” and infrastructure, as well as “taking care of our great veterans. We will embark upon a project of national growth and renewal,” he said.
Trump said he would double economic growth, while talking somewhat ominously of “getting along with all other nations willing to get along with us… While we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone”.
World Leaders Stunned, Reacts
Obviously dazed by the Trump victory, world leaders were barely able to veil their disappointment even as they expressed their readiness to accept the decision of the American people.
UK’s May congratulated Trump and said Britain and the US had 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. I look forward to working with president-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead,” she said.
French President Hollande said Trump’s win “opens up a period of uncertainty” that “must be faced with lucidity and clarity”. He congratulated the US president-elect “as is natural between two heads of state”, but showed little enthusiasm. Hollande had openly endorsed Clinton. “Certain positions taken by Donald Trump during the American campaign must be confronted with the values and interests we share with the United States,” he said.
According to him, “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.”
In her own reaction to the outcome of an election that has left many analysts bewildered, Germany’s Merkel said: “There’s no country we Germans have as close a relationship with as the United States of America. Whoever rules this vast country, with its enormous economic strength, its military potential, its cultural influence, carries a responsibility which is felt all over the world. Americans have decided that the person to carry this responsibility for the next four years is Donald Trump. Germany and America are connected by common values: democracy, freedom, and respect for the law and for human dignity irrespective of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political conviction. On the basis of these values, I offer the future president of America, Donald Trump, a close working relationship.”
She said: “Partnership with the USA remains a basic pillar of German foreign policy in order for us to meet the great challenges of our time: striving for economic and social wellbeing and a forward-looking climate policy, the fight against terrorism, hunger and disease, engagement for peace and freedom, in Germany, Europe and all over the world.”
Prime Minister Renzi of Italy, who was a vocal supporter of Clinton even before she secured the Democratic nomination, offered his congratulations to Trump “in the name of Italy” and said he was convinced that the friendship between Italy and the US was strong and solid.
“It’s a new political fact that along with other things demonstrates that we are in a new stage,” Renzi said. “Who would say that Trump would win? It is that way and we respect it. We will cooperate with the new American president and have a relationship between the EU and Italy.”
Pope Francis did not mention the US elections during yesterday’s audience, but Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, offered Trump congratulations in a statement to Vatican Radio that “his government can be truly fruitful”.
He added the Vatican offered its prayers “that the Lord illuminates and sustains him in service of his country, naturally, but also in service of the well-being and peace of the world”. Parolin concluded by noting that “there is need for everyone to work to change the global situation, which is in a situation of severe lacerations and great conflict.”
Boris Pahor, the President of Slovenia, the Alpine nation that is the home country of Melania Trump, said: “We are allied as part of Nato and I will strive for the friendship and the alliance to deepen further.”
The Prime Minister of Spain, Rajoy, congratulated Trump on his victory and vowed to work with him to strengthen Spain’s relationship with an “indispensable ally”.
Spain’s foreign ministry said it was confident that the new era of bilateral relations would serve to “reinforce and consolidate” Spain’s partnership with the US and “deepen the friendship between our countries and peoples”.
But Pablo Iglesias, leader of the anti-austerity Podemos party was less welcoming. Above a picture of the famous black power salute at the 1968 Olympics and an emoji of a clenched fist, he tweeted: “The vaccine against Trump’s fascism is social justice and human rights, not more establishment. There are people in the US who will resist.”
Sweden’s former Prime Minister Carl Bildt said 2016 was the year of “double disaster” for the west. He tweeted: “At least Richard Nixon had a solid understanding of world affairs. Manoeuvred skilfully. But morally corrupt. And collapsed in disgrace.”
Russia’s Putin sent Trump a telegram to congratulate him. Speaking at a ceremony in the Kremlin, the Russian president said: “We heard the campaign slogans when he was still a candidate which were aimed at restoring relations between Russia and the United States. We understand that it will not be an easy path given the current state of degradation in the relations. And as I have repeatedly said, it’s not our fault that Russian-American relations are in such a poor state. But Russia wants and is ready to restore full-fledged relations with the United States.”
Putin emphasised: “I repeat we understand that this will be difficult, but we are ready to play our part, and do everything to return Russian-American relations to stable and sustainable development track. This would serve the interests of both the Russian and American peoples, and would have a positive effect on the general climate of global affairs given the special responsibility of Russia and the US to sustain global security.”
In Ukraine, where officials expressed fear prior to the vote that a Trump presidency could see Ukraine thrown under the bus in favour of improved ties with Russia, President Petro Poroshenko offered “sincere congratulations to Donald Trump on being elected president of the United States and to the friendly American nation on democratic expression of will”.
Poroshenko said he had met the US ambassador on Wednesday and had been assured that “the new US administration would remain a reliable partner in the struggle for democracy”.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt said Cairo wanted to see more “cooperation and coordination” between the two nations to bolster stability and peace in the Middle East. He telephoned Trump to offer his congratulations and invited him to visit Egypt.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Trump and called him a “true friend of the State of Israel”. Netanyahu said that he believes the two leaders “will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between our two countries and bring it to ever greater heights”.
The news was met with jubilation by politicians on the Israeli right, including the country’s education minister Naftali Bennett, who declared that Trump’s victory meant “the era of a Palestinian state is over”.
“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the centre of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause. This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple.”
The news of Trump’s election was greeted cautiously by Palestinian figures. A spokesman for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: “We will deal with any president elected by the American people on the principle of achieving permanent peace in the Middle East based on the two state solution on June 4 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
King Salman of Saudi Arabia expressed hope that Trump would bring stability to the Middle East. “We wish your excellency success in your mission to achieve security and stability in the Middle East and worldwide,” he said, praising US-Saudi relations, which are “historic and tight between the two friendly countries, that all parties aspire to develop and reinforce”.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “The election marks the beginning of a new era in the United States. I hope that the American people’s decision will facilitate audacious steps being taken regarding fundamental rights and liberties and democracy in the world and regional developments. Personally and on behalf of the nation, I wish to consider this decision by the American people a positive sign and wish them a successful future.”
President Hassan Rouhani reacted to Trump’s win by saying that it would not change the trajectory of his country’s foreign policy. He said: “The US election results will have no impact on the policies of the Islamic Republic. Because of wrong policies, the position of America in the international community and world’s public opinion has diminished and [the US’s] growing rift with Europe and the world will exacerbate that position.”
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated Trump and said he looked forward to continued support in his country’s fight against Islamic State. In a statement on his website, Abadi said he hopes the “world and the United States will continue to support Iraq in fighting terrorism”.
President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico said he was ready to work with Trump to help bilateral relations, and that the two countries would continue to tighten bonds of cooperation and mutual respect.
“Mexico and the United States are friends, partners and allies and we should keep collaborating for the competitiveness and development of North America,” Peña Nieto said on his Twitter account.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Trump and stressed the close friendship and ties between the two nations. The US accounted for 60% of Canada’s global trade in 2014, a relationship underpinned by Nafta.
Trump, who has described the agreement as “the worst trade deal in history”, has vowed to renegotiate the terms and would move to withdraw the US from the deal if Canada and Mexico refuse. According to the Canadian government, nearly 400,000 people a day cross the shared border between Canada and the US.
Trudeau’s statement said: “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to congratulate Donald J Trump on his election as the next President of the United States. Canada has no closer friend, partner, and ally than the United States. We look forward to working very closely with President-elect Trump, his administration, and with the United States Congress in the years ahead, including on issues such as trade, investment, and international peace and security.”
Cambodia’s long-serving, authoritarian prime minister Hun Sen congratulated Trump. On his official Facebook page, Hun Sen pointed out that he had announced his support for the Republican candidate several days earlier. “American voters have shown their choice to elect your excellency,” he wrote, adding: “My support for your candidacy is not wrong either.”
Chinese state media said President Xi Jinping had called Trump to congratulate him on his victory. “I place great importance on the China-US relationship, and look forward to working with you to uphold the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” Xi was reported to have told Trump. Xi also told Trump he hoped the two sides could avoid “conflict and confrontation [and] instead achieve cooperation and a win-win [relationship]”.
President Joko Widodo said the world’s most populous Muslim nation would work with the Trump administration. “We will keep good relations, especially in trade and investment as we know the US is one of Indonesia’s major investors,” he said. “I think there will be no change.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent his “heartfelt congratulations” to Trump. Abe said that “as a very successful businessman with extraordinary talents, not only you made a great contribution to the growth of the US economy, but now as a strong leader, you have demonstrated your determination to lead the United States”.
Prime Minister Najib Razak – embroiled in a corruption scandal at home that is being investigated in the United States – sent a congratulatory message to Trump: “Mr Trump’s success shows that politicians should never take voters for granted. Opinion polls, and established political figures, all underestimated the strength of his support. His appeal to Americans who have been left behind – those who want to see their government more focused on their interests and welfare, and less embroiled in foreign interventions that proved to be against US interests – have won Mr Trump the White House. He added the US and Malaysia “are firm allies in the worldwide fight against terrorism and extremism.”
Pakistan’s former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf congratulated Trump on “his historic election”. Writing on Facebook, he said the president-elect “should not quit from Afghanistan”, the country where some US and international forces remain in place.
“I hope he will focus keenly to bring peace and stability around the world and demonstrate deliberate leadership in resolving the conflicts in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent,” he wrote. “We must trust and work together to crush terrorism and eliminate extremism from a position of strength.”
The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who branded Obama a “son of whore” earlier this year, offered “warm congratulations” to Trump. Duterte, who has expressed outrage almost daily with the Obama administration and threatened repeatedly to end one of Washington’s most important Asian alliances, hailed the success of US democratic system and the American way of life, according to his Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
Duterte “looks forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines-US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law”.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
President Joseph Kabila, who suspects the Obama administration of trying to oust him from power and whose aides have made little secret of their preferred winner, congratulated Trump.
Speaking both personally and “in the name of the people” of the troubled nation, Kabila offered his “most sincere congratulations” to Trump for his “brilliant electoral victory and, through him, to the American people who, sovereign, have decided to trust him with their destiny”. Kabila said he wanted to “solemnly express his desire” to work with Trump to strengthen ties between their countries.
President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Trump for his “victorious campaign” and Clinton for her “valiant effort”. Kenyatta reminded Trump that the “ties that bind Kenya and the United States of America are old, and based on the values that we hold dear: in democracy, in the rule of law, and in the equality of peoples,” adding: “These values remain dear to the peoples of both nations, and so our friendship will endure.”
A statement from Jacob Zuma’s office said: President Zuma conveyed his best wishes to the President-elect and looked forward to working with President-elect Trump to build on the strong relations that exists between the two countries. He underlined that South Africa further looked forward to working closely with the new Administration in the United States in promoting peace, security and prosperity around the world, especially on the African continent.”
Minister of Information, Michael Makuei, welcomed Trump’s victory, saying: “I really doubt President Obama had any clear policy to South Sudan other than to destroy it. So we will definitely expect better relations with Trump … and the USA after the election.”
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said: “I congratulate Mr. Trump on his election as the President of the United States of America. Elections in the US or any country are a matter for the people of that country. Our relationship with the United States will continue regardless of which leader or party is leading. I congratulate Mr Trump once again and look forward to working with him as we have been working with the other leaders before him.”
Top officials at the European Union have invited Donald Trump to Europe for an urgent US-EU summit. In a joint letter, Donald Tusk, president of the European council and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, congratulated Trump and urged him to come to Europe for talks “at your earliest convenience”.
Tusk and Juncker are seeking reassurance on key issues on which Trump’s remarks on the campaign trial have rattled European leaders, including migration, climate change and Russia’s threat to Ukraine.
The letter said: “It is more important than ever to strengthen transatlantic relations. Only by cooperating closely can the EU and the US continue to make a difference when dealing with unprecedented challenges such as Da’esh [Isis], the threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, climate change and migration.”
It added: “We would take this opportunity to invite you to visit Europe for an EU – US summit at your earliest convenience. This conversation would allow for us to chart the course of our relations for the next four years.” The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, gave a diplomatic reaction to Trump’s victory, tweeting: “EU-US ties are deeper than any change in politics.”
Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, said the vote was “a protest vote” similar to Brexit. “It began timidly, but this is like a wave, a wave of protest that will lead to Trump in the White House,” Schulz told Europe 1 radio.
The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said he was looking forward to working with Trump and that US leadership was vital to the world’s biggest military alliance. “It is important that the transatlantic bond remains strong”, he said, adding that “US leadership is as important as ever”. Stoltenberg said he was looking forward to welcoming Trump at next spring’s Nato summit, to be held in the alliance’s new premises in Brussels.