Much of the world woke up in a collective state of shock and anxiety Wednesday morning as news of Donald Trump’s election to the U.S. presidency sunk in.
Trump’s victory, which thwarted months of political punditry, polling data and election analysis, spun the global community into a condition of unforeseen angst: destabilizing global markets and currencies, prompting protest marches across U.S. cities, and summoning the polite, if tempered, well-wishes from leaders around the globe.
It also marked the end to a historically bitter election cycle, which was characterized by scandals, personal attacks, and a level of political tension that many perceived as unparalleled in recent American history.
While most world leaders offered standard notes of congratulations to the President-Elect, far-right parties in Europe were exuberant. Russia’s nationalist LDPR party threw a lively party in the state parliament, while multiple members of France’s right-wing National Front party delivered celebratory remarks.
“Their world is crumbling,” said National Front deputy leader Florian Philippot, “Ours is building.”
Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May congratulated Donald Trump on his victory, highlighting the U.S.’s and Britain’s “special and enduring relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise.”
German Chancellor Angel Merkel was more moderate in her remarks, stating that while the campaign included “confrontations that were difficult to bear” she was ready for “close cooperation” between the U.S. and Germany.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin was optimistic, welcoming Trump’s cooperation in establishing constructive dialogue and friendly relations between the two countries.
Others were less so. French Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud issued a crestfallen Tweet late into the night after a series of battleground wins secured Trump’s presidency. (The Tweet was later deleted.)
“After Brexit and this election, everything is now possible.” Araud Tweeted. “A world is collapsing before our eyes.”
He was not the only leader to reference Brexit, the landmark referendum earlier this year where British citizens opted to exit the EU, with former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt also making the comparison:
I’m increasingly worried that the West might be facing the double disaster of Brexit and Trump.
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) June 6, 2016
While Trump enjoyed a surge of support from working-class white voters on election night, the news of his victory triggered strong reactions from many of his opponents.
Angry protests erupted in the U.S. cities of Oakland, Seattle and Pittsburgh, with many reportedly chanting: “That’s not my president.”
The Canadian government’s immigration website also reportedly crashed during the night, as anxious U.S. citizens flocked to the page in droves.
Trump’s candidacy for president has been embroiled in controversy and scandal ever since he announced his intention to run in June 2015. Weeks ago, he was under fire for a 2005 leaked audio clip that revealed him making lewd comments about sexual assault. He was also accused of sexual assault by multiple women in the weeks leading up to the election.