Caution in China, sorrow and anger in Mexico, cork-popping in Moscow – here are some of the global responses to Friday’s power handover
Germany will need a new economic strategy geared toward Asia should the new US administration start a trade war with China, vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said, warning of a “rough ride” hours after Donald Trump was sworn in.
“What we heard today were high nationalistic tones,” Gabriel said in an interview with the public broadcaster ZDF, in the first official German reaction to Trump’s inauguration. “I think we have to prepare for a rough ride.”
He added that Trump “was extremely serious” in his inauguration speech, which meant he would follow his promises on trade and other issues with actions. Europe and Germany must stand together “to defend our interests.”
As the US’s new president took to the stage in Washington, hundreds of anti- and pro-Trump protesters gathered in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.
Margaret Heidhues, of upstate New York, said she had not been able to stay at home to watch the inauguration. “I would have been repulsed beyond belief,” she said, holding a banner stating: “The People Voted for Hillary” on one side, and “Nasty Woman”, on the other side.
Her nine-year-old son Theo had crafted his own poster with a digger truck on it and the slogan “Dump Trump”.
“I think he poses an incredible danger to Europe,” said Heidhues, who has lived in Germany since 2000. “The populist movements of the AfD [Alternative for Germany] and Le Pen’s [Front National] in France have been emboldened by his victory.
“When he was first elected, my German friends were expressing their sympathy towards me. But now they are just as depressed, because they recognise they have to be scared for themselves as well.”
On Pariser Platz square, where the protesters gathered, they were faced by a line of around 10 Trump supporters, carrying banners that read: “Trump, the better alternative” and “Trump wants peace with Russia! What is wrong with that?”.
Sylvia Block, a pensioner who said she was part of a group called Mothers Against War said she liked Trump because he was a “grounded, down-to-earth personality will would look after the American people” and who would build up American industry: “The Americans have too much unemployment – Trump will bring their industry back to its feet so that Americans can buy their own cars again, not import them from us”.
The anti-Trump protesters called their march “No to Global Trumpism”. It started at the headquarters of the rightwing populists AfD and marched towards the Brandenburg Gate.
“Trumpism is not an isolated national movement”, the march organisers said in their pre-protest blurb. “We stand united against opportunists such as Frauke Petry and the AfD, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and Nigel Farage who scapegoat and demonise immigrants and religious and ethnic minorities to build their own political power.”
The demonstration was organised by a variety of groups including American Voices Abroad Berlin, Berlin Forum on Global Politics, Berlin Ireland Pro Choice, Pussy Grabs Back and many others.
The protests took place on the eve of a meeting of Europe’s rightwing populists, feeling strengthened by the Trump victory and Brexit, who are due to gather in the central city of Koblenz in a show of strength ahead of a string of elections this year in which they are predicted to make gains.
Wilders, of the Dutch far-right Freedom party, and Matteo Salvini of Italy’s northern league, are expected at the meeting. The star attractions at what has been billed a “European Counter Summit” will be France’s presidential hopeful Le Pen and AfD’s Petry, who are due to hold a discussion on the folly of Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. Philip Oltermann and Kate Connolly in Berlin
Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen congratulated Trump on his inauguration on Twitter, in a move likely to draw objections from Beijing, which is already angry with a protocol-breaking phone call a month ago between the two leaders.
蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen(@iingwen)
Congratulations @realDonaldTrump. Democracy is what ties Taiwan and the US together. Look forward to advancing our friendship & partnership.
After Donald Trump promised in his inauguration speech to fight back against the “ravages of other countries”, China’s Global Times, a Communist party tabloid, said the “impressive” address signalled that the start of the Trump era would herald “dramatic changes”.
“On the world stage Mr Trump will likely align his foreign policy with US corporate interests, blurring the lines of ideology or political values. Frictions between the US and its allies, and trade tensions between the US and China seem inevitable within the four years ahead,” the state-run newspaper said in an editorial.
“Undoubtedly the Trump administration will be igniting many ‘fires’ on its front door and around the world. Let’s wait and see when it will be China’s turn.”
China’s government and state-run media had struck a conciliatory tone on the eve of the inauguration – “Both sides should try to be friends and partners, rather than opponents or enemies,” said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry. But domestic broadcasters were forbidden from screening Trump’s inaugural speech live, with authorities perhaps fearful it might contain more attacks on the country’s Communist party leaders.
Instead Xiong Tong, a Beijing-based journalist and self-declared Trump aficionado, tuned in at home on the internet. The 32-year-old said he was overjoyed to see the billionaire pick up the keys to the White House.
“Trump is fantastic,” said Xiong who donned a Trump t-shirt – as well as a synthetic blonde mop – for his celebratory late-night viewing session. “He is so real. Thanks to him, the world is going to start heading in a positive direction. People will become more confident, which will lead to a rise on the stock market.”
Xiong said he saw similarities between the US’s incoming leader and former Republican president, George HW Bush. “Both of them are easy going and hard-working,” he said. “They are formidable people.”
He said he was unfazed that weeks of China-bashing by the billionaire meant he was now part of a shrinking pool of Chinese Trump supporters. “I’m an independent fan of his and I don’t care what others think about the man,” declared Xiong. “I think Trump acts the same way.”
Nor was he worried about the prospect of confrontation with the world’s most powerful military if Trump continued to challenge Beijing from the White House, saying: “If we start a fight with the US, beat them and conquer them, they will not dare to interfere with our South China Sea.” Tom Phillips and Wang Zhen in Beijing
Most Mexicans are torn as to who they hate more: Donald Trump for his repeated insults and threats on trade, migration and jobs; or their president, Enrique Peña Nieto, for trying to appease him by extraditing drug capo Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman to the US on the eve of the inauguration, thus ensuring the cartel boss will never pay for his crimes at home.
A series of demonstrations are set to take place in the capital, Mexico City, this weekend to protest against Trump’s anti-Mexico rhetoric.
In a series of thinly veiled threats directed at Mexico, which were peppered throughout his inauguration speech, Trump pledged to protect American borders from the ravages of other countries, and bring back jobs, borders, wealth and prosperity.
Peña Nieto congratulated Trump on his inauguration, but said: “Sovereignty, national interest and protection of Mexicans, will guide relations with the new government of the United States.”
He added that his government would “establish a respectful dialogue” with Trump’s administration “for the benefit of Mexico”.
The foreign minister, Luis Videgaray Caso, and finance minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, will hold talks with members of Trump’s cabinet on 25 and 26 January in Washington.
Amalia Ortiz Cortez, 31, a festival organiser, said the emotional and economic damage inflicted on Mexico by Trump’s discourse had until now made the government look weak, but his promised anti-Mexican policies could unite the nation for the first time in many years.
“It made me feel very sad but it’s now clear that the speculation is over, and he literally means what he has said,” Cortez said. “Our government must strongly remonstrate against his discourse in line with social consensus and re-examine our foreign relations and trade deals
“Trump will bring business leaders, young people and the general population together to dialogue and I hope this will force us to become stronger as a society and reconsider our relationships with our Latin American neighbours.” Nina Lakhani in Mexico City
Russia has loomed unusually large in this presidential campaign and its aftermath, and at the Telegraph building not far from the Kremlin, a group of nationalist activists put on an inauguration party to celebrate the victory of the man who has come to be seen as the Kremlin’s candidate, with champagne and traditional Russian pies for guests.
“We started this movement a year ago when nobody believed in Trump except us,” said Maria Katasonova, a nationalist activist who helped organise the party. “I hope the words he said during the campaign were not just rhetoric and stick by them as president.” She said Trump was a man, like Putin, who “fights the system”.
However, there were more journalists at the party than genuine Trump enthusiasts and there was a sense that the jubilation was a little artificial. While there is no doubt that the Russian political establishment are cautiously optimistic about relations under Trump, modern Russia is a largely apolitical country, and there was little sense of genuine excitement among ordinary Russians.
“We are ready to do our share of the work in order to improve the relationship,” prime minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Facebook on Friday.
The pro-Trump atmosphere that was visible in Moscow was largely of a tongue-in-cheek character, trolling the hated US “establishment” and what Russians hope will be the end of a US that lectures them on human rights. The Army of Russia shops in central Moscow offered all Americans 10% off merchandise on inauguration day, while the occasional restaurant offered a Trump burger or other gimmick.
While there were continued denials about Russian meddling in the election, there was also a pride in Russia’s central place in the dialogue. At the celebration, one man wore a T-shirt with “You’ve been hacked” inscribed on it. Shaun Walker in Moscow
In Iran, the national television did not broadcast the inauguration live, reporting on its news bulletin that “the new US president had begun his work amid popular protests”. Semi-official agencies gave a scant coverage to the event, partly due to continuing news from Thursday’s devastating fire in Tehran.
Many, however, followed the ceremony on the London-based BBC Persian, which is loathed by the Iranian establishment. Watched by millions in Iran via illegal satellite dishes, BBC Persian had its main presenter in Washington DC and aired the ceremony in full. Iran’s state-run English language website Press TV broadcast the ceremony. One headline on its website reflected an activist’s view: “Trump forced on Americans by two-party system”.
Iranians are concerned about the impact of Trump’s presidency on the landmark nuclear agreement, struck in Vienna in July 2015. Trump told the Times this month that he saw it as “one of the worst deals ever made” but refused to give further details about his policy on Iran, because, he said: “I just don’t want to play the cards”. Some analysts say he may not tear up the agreement but instead could adopt a more rigorous implementation of the accord.
Tehran University professor Naser Hadian told the Guardian: “Trump is an unknown phenomenon and nobody knows how his words would translate into policies, so we don’t know what he would do with the nuclear deal.”
According to Hadian, Trump’s appointments so far have not been promising. “They have been hawkish and have talked about regime change or war with Iran,” he said.
“On the negative side, Trump is the combination of a clever mind with little knowledge, which makes him incredibly dangerous, but on the positive side, he is a pragmatist and a businessman.” Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Israel and the Palestinian territories
Trump’s inauguration sharply divided opinion, with rightwing pro-settlement Israelis – whose leaders were invited to attend the ceremony – most enthusiastic.
In a pointed intervention, Israel’s infrastructure minister Yuval Steinitz – a close confident of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu – said he hoped Trump would act quickly on his controversial plan to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a plan fiercely opposed by Palestinians who see east Jerusalem as a capital of a future state.
“I hope and believe that he will move the American Embassy to Jerusalem,” Steinitz told Army radio. “It is absurd that the embassies are in Tel Aviv.”
Netanyahu also tweeted his congratulations ahead of the beginning of shabbat.
Congrats to my friend President Trump. Look fwd to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel&USA stronger than ever 🇮🇱🇺🇸
In the Nana cafe in east Jerusalem, however, the clientele watched the inauguration with a mixture of bafflement and concern over the fact the US had elected Trump while warning of the consequences of moving the embassy.
Moussa al-Bitouni, 53, father of the cafe’s owner said : “From what I hear he is not a man of peace. We does not want to support peace. This is not in our interest or the interest of the US. I was 100% for Clinton. I never thought America would elect Trump.”
“We want him to be fair, not biased,” added lorry driver Faraj al-Joulem, 42. . “We are against moving the US embassy. It will inflame the whole region.”
Israel’s newspaper columnists were split, however, about what Trump portends, while Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in a statement posted in his name on the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, congratulated Trump. He added: “I look forward to working with him for the sake of peace, security and stability in a world that is troubled and in a region that lives a tragic era, and to contribute to creating a safe future for everyone.”
Before Trump had even arrived at Capitol Hill disgruntled Britons – including Green party joint leader Jonathan Bartley – had unfurled a banner reading “Build bridges not walls” across London’s Tower Bridge , while others held up a sign saying “Act Now”.
“We won’t let the politics of hate peddled by the likes of Donald Trump take hold,” said protest organiser Nona Hurkmans. Other banners were draped over Westminster Bridge during a protest outside parliament.
British prime minister Theresa May did not send wishes to Trump before his swearing in, but leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn urged him to put the “misogyny and the racism” of his presidential campaign behind him. Speaking at an event in Glasgow, Corbyn said he hoped that as president he would reach “out to all communities across the United States” and called on him to promote “critical engagement” with Russia.
The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, tweeted his congratulations to both Trump and the vice president Mike Pence, but the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, called Trump’s journey to the White House “the most divisive, vulgar and illiberal presidential campaign in memory” before calling on May to stand up to Trump.
“Of course the UK must continue to engage with the US on matters of mutual concern, but Theresa May must not to damage our national integrity and values by bowing down to a bully,” he said.
Protests against Trump also took place across Scotland. Hundreds marched from the foot of Edinburgh’s North Bridge to the US consulate on Regent Terrace to coincide with Trump being sworn in.
Protesters were armed with banners with wording including: “Love Trumps Hate”, “No to racism, no to Trump” and “Hey Donald, I hope you step on a lego”.
The demonstration organised in the Scottish capital by Stand Up to Racism saw hundreds of people chant slogans such as “Donald Trump go to hell – take the KKK as well” and “Donald Trump, go away – sexist, racist, anti-gay”.
Trump was welcomed by some rightwing politicians, including Ukip’s Nigel Farage, but Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the former UK ambassador to the US, questioned his ability to unify the US and stand up to Russia. “The really big test is over Russia and Nato,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “Over the next few months, you are going to have to see whether a harder edge comes into his approach to Russia, and whether he is prepared to validate a sense of commitment to Nato and to Europe.”
Downing Street is trying to arrange for May to travel to meet the new president as soon as possible, with speculation that a visit take place within days. Alexandra Topping
In a small bar in Paris’s Ménilmontant neighbourhood, Trump’s speech was relayed on a giant screen. As he gave the pledge, a 20-something sighed and said: “Well, there goes America.” But another regular chipped in: “I hurt for the American people. Half of the population didn’t vote for him. They’ll have to endure the next few years.”
One of the waiters doubted that Trump could fulfil many of his election promises “What is he going to do?” he said. “Send all the immigrants back? Line them up against a wall and shoot them?” A survey on Friday showed that more than 80% of the French population had a bad or very bad opinion of Trump. Some are anxious that his electoral success increases the chances of victory for its own anti-immigrant nationalist leader, Le Pen, in elections this year.
The president, François Hollande, did not mention Trump by name during a press conference in eastern France, referring instead to “my colleague taking the oath” and criticising the protectionism that Trump advocated. The French president has previously said that Trump’s victory “opens up a period of uncertainty” that “must be faced with lucidity and clarity”. Sofia Fischer in Paris
Canada’s government, eager to sidestep potentially protectionist US policies, said it was confident Trump would see that working closely with Canada benefited both nations. “We are confident the new administration will see that Canada’s partnership with the US mutually strengthens our two nations and provides real opportunities to grow our respective economies,” Joseph Pickerill, spokesman for foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, said in a statement.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau also issued a statement congratulating Trump. “Together, we benefit from robust trade and investment ties, and integrated economies, that support millions of Canadian and American jobs,” he said. Reuters
- This article was amended on 22 January 2017. It had referred to Trump’s plan to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Washington. This should of course have said from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.