Trump pledges to be pres­i­dent for all Amer­i­cans

The Myanmar Times - - World -

DON­ALD Trump stunned Amer­ica and the world, rid­ing a wave of pop­ulist re­sent­ment to de­feat Hil­lary Clin­ton in the race to be­come the 45th pres­i­dent of the United States.

The Repub­li­can mogul de­feated his Demo­cratic ri­val with at least 290 elec­toral votes, se­cur­ing more than the 270 he needed to suc­ceed Barack Obama, plung­ing global mar­kets into tur­moil and cast­ing the long-stand­ing global po­lit­i­cal or­der, which hinges on Wash­ing­ton’s lead­er­ship, into doubt.

“Now it is time for Amer­ica to bind the wounds of divi­sion,” Mr Trump told a cheer­ing crowd of ju­bi­lant supporters early yes­ter­day in New York, pledg­ing to work with Democrats in office.

“I pledge to ev­ery cit­i­zen of our land that I will be pres­i­dent for all Amer­i­cans,” he said, in a con­cil­ia­tory ad­dress in which he paid tribute to his de­feated op­po­nent and thanked his staff.

“Hil­lary has worked very hard over a long pe­riod of time, and we owe her a ma­jor debt of grat­i­tude for her ser­vice to our coun­try,” he said of Ms Clin­ton, whose hopes of be­com­ing Amer­ica’s first woman pres­i­dent were bru­tally dashed.

Dur­ing a bit­ter two-year cam­paign that tugged at Amer­ica’s demo­cratic fab­ric, the 70-year-old bom­bas­tic ty­coon pledged to de­port il­le­gal im­mi­grants, ban Mus­lims from the coun­try and tear up free trade deals.

His mes­sage was em­braced by a large sec­tion of Amer­ica’s white ma­jor­ity who have grown in­creas­ingly dis­grun­tled by the scope of so­cial and eco­nomic change in the past eight years un­der their first black pres­i­dent, Barack Obama.

Many Amer­i­cans from mi­nor­ity back­grounds ex­pressed dis­may at Mr Trump’s vic­tory, which some saw as the re­sult of what some ob­servers said was a backlash against mul­ti­cul­tural Amer­ica.

Mr Trump openly courted Rus­sian leader Vladimir Putin, called US sup­port for NATO al­lies in Europe into ques­tion, and sug­gested that South Korea and Ja­pan should de­velop their own nu­clear weapons.

Omi­nously for Wash­ing­ton’s Euro­pean al­lies, one of the first world lead­ers to con­grat­u­late Mr Trump was Mr Putin him­self, in a rapid Krem­lin state­ment.

Mr Putin ex­pressed hope for “bring­ing US-Rus­sia re­la­tions out of their crit­i­cal con­di­tion” and said “con­struc­tive di­a­logue” would be in the in­ter­est of both coun­tries.

The busi­ness­man-turned-TV-star­turned-politico will be­come com­man­der-in-chief of the world’s sole true su­per­power on Jan­uary 20.

The re­sults prompted a global mar­ket sell-off, with stocks plung­ing across Asia and Europe and bil­lions be­ing wiped off in­vest­ments.

Amer­ica’s al­lies have been dum­founded by Mr Trump’s rise, but EU for­eign af­fairs head Fed­er­ica Mogherini said, “EU-US ties are deeper than any change in pol­i­tics. We’ll con­tinue to work to­gether, re­dis­cov­er­ing the strength of Europe.”

Although he has no govern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence and has been as well known for run­ning beauty pageants and star­ring on his real­ity tele­vi­sion series The Ap­pren­tice as he is for build­ing his prop­erty em­pire, Mr Trump will be the old­est man to ever be­come pres­i­dent.

Yet, dur­ing his im­prob­a­ble po­lit­i­cal rise, Mr Trump has con­stantly proved the pun­dits and re­ceived po­lit­i­cal wis­dom wrong.

Op­posed by the en­tire se­nior hierarchy of his own Repub­li­can Party, he trounced more than a dozen bet­ter­funded and more ex­pe­ri­enced ri­vals in the party pri­mary.

Dur­ing the race, he was forced to ride out cred­i­ble al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault from a dozen women and was em­bar­rassed but ap­par­ently not ashamed to have been caught on tape boast­ing about grop­ing women.

But the big­gest up­set came as he swept to vic­tory through a series of hard-fought wins in bat­tle­ground states from Florida to Ohio.

Ms Clin­ton had been widely as­sumed to be on course to en­ter the his­tory books as the first woman to be­come pres­i­dent in Amer­ica’s 240year ex­is­tence.

Amer­i­cans repu­di­ated her call for unity amid the United States’ wide cul­tural and racial di­ver­sity, opt­ing in­stead for a leader who in­sisted the coun­try is bro­ken and that he “alone can fix it”.

Mr Trump has an un­easy re­la­tion­ship with the broader Repub­li­can Party, but it will have full con­trol of Congress and he will be able to ap­point a ninth Supreme Court jus­tice to a va­cant seat on the bench, de­cid­ing the bal­ance of the body.

So great was the shock of de­feat that the nor­mally ro­bust Ms Clin­ton did not come out to her supporters’ poll-watch­ing party to con­cede de­feat, but in­stead called Mr Trump and sent her cam­paign chair.

The elec­tion re­sult was also a bru­tal hu­mil­i­a­tion for Mr Obama, who for eight years has re­peated the credo that there is no black or white Amer­ica, only the United States of Amer­ica.

Mr Trump’s shock vic­tory is just the lat­est ev­i­dence that glob­al­i­sa­tion has eroded faith in lib­eral po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship.

From Bri­tain’s vote to leave the Euro­pean Union to the rise of far-right pop­ulists and na­tion­al­ists in con­ti­nen­tal Europe, op­po­si­tion to open trade and so­cial and racial ten­sions are on the rise. –

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