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   Donald Trump, President of (ALL) America

Donald Trump, President of (ALL) America

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Published : Nov 9, 2016, 3:39 pm IST
Updated : Nov 9, 2016, 3:39 pm IST

During campaign, Trump called US ‘a dark America knocked to its knees’; people cheered him for ‘saying what everybody's thinking’.

(Photo: AP)
 (Photo: AP)

During campaign, Trump called US ‘a dark America knocked to its knees’; people cheered him for ‘saying what everybody's thinking’.

New York:

 

Donald Trump has 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, 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," Trump told a cheering crowd of jubilant supporters in the early hours of Wednesday 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 declared, in a conciliatory address in which he paid tribute to his defeated opponent and thanked his staff.

 

"Hillary has worked very long and 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 Clinton, whose hopes of becoming America's first woman president were brutally dashed.

Donald Trump's successful campaign for the White House broke every tradition and upended the political establishment with the same bluster, hyperbole and media mastery that made him one of the world's best-known businessmen.

It was his first run for public office and Trump, a real-estate developer, reality television star and self-confessed owner of a big ego, called it a movement, not a campaign. He drew large, enthusiastic crowds to rallies where people cheered him for "just saying what everybody's thinking". Critics labelled him misogynistic, ill-informed, uncouth, unpresidential, a racist, a hypocrite, a demagogue and a sexual predator, all accusations he denied.

 

It took Trump, 70, little more than 10 months to vanquish 16 other Republican candidates and win the party's nomination, becoming the first major party nominee without government experience since General Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s. He drew a record number of votes in primary contests but in so doing created a rift in the Republican Party.

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 last eight years under their first black president, Barack Obama.

 

Throughout his campaign -- and especially in his Republican convention speech in July -- Trump described a dark America that had been knocked to its knees by China, Mexico, Russiaand Islamic State. The American dream was dead, he said, smothered by malevolent business interests and corrupt politicians, and he said he alone could revive it.

Trump said he would make America great again through the force of his personality, negotiating skill and business acumen.

Trump promoted himself as the ultimate success story. He dated beautiful women, married three of them, had his own television show and erected skyscrapers that bore his name in big gold letters. Everything in his life was the greatest, the hugest, the classiest, the most successful, he said, even though critics assailed his experiences with bankruptcies, the failures of his Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos and what they viewed as the misplaced pride he showed when presented with evidence he avoided paying taxes.

 

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

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 Trump was Putin himself, in a rapid Kremlin statement

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

 

The businessman turned TV star turned-politico -- who has never before held elected office -- 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 the value of investments.

Mexicans, fearing Trump's vow to build a wall to cut America off from its southern neighbor, were dismayed and the peso fell to historic lows.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index shed 1.87 percent, Frankfurt's DAX 30 dived 2.9 percent and the Paris CAC 40 index slid 2.8 percent.

America's allies have been dumfounded by Trump's rise, but European Union foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini insisted: "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 in recent years 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, Trump will be the oldest man to ever become president.

Yet, during his improbable political rise, 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 better-funded 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.

 

And, unique in modern US political history, he refused to release his tax returns -- leaving a question mark over how much, if any, tax he has paid while running a global empire.

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

Legacy of ashes

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

 

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 Clinton did not come out to her supporters' poll-watching party to concede defeat, but instead called Trump and sent her campaign chairman.

"We are so proud of you. And we are so proud of her," chairman John Podesta told shell-shocked supporters. "She's done an amazing job, and she is not done yet."

The campaign confirmed Clinton herself would speak early Wednesday.

 

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

On the eve of the election, he told tens of thousands of people in Philadelphia that he was betting on the decency of the American people.

"I'm betting that tomorrow, most moms and dads across America won't cast their vote for someone who denigrates their daughters," Obama said.

"I'm betting that tomorrow, true conservatives won't cast their vote for somebody with no regard for the Constitution," he added.

His bet appears to have been flat out wrong, and America's first black president will be succeeded by a candidate who received the endorsement -- albeit unsought and unacknowledged -- of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

 

Trump's shock victory is just the latest evidence that globalization 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.

Donald Trump's improbable victory in the US presidential election provoked global shock and angst on Wednesday over the implications for everything from trade to human rights and climate change.

Trump's rise has been keenly watched abroad as he campaigned on a platform of trashing trade agreements, questioning alliances, restricting immigration and dismissing climate change.

 

While the billionaire businessman's election was welcomed in some countries, others saw it as a big shock as governments will now have to deal with a man who has cozied up to Vladimir Putin, told NATO allies they would have to pay for their own protection and vowed to make the Mexican government pay for a multibillion-dollar border wall.

Trump's win was particularly startling in Mexico, where his remarks calling Mexican immigrants criminals and "rapists" were a deep insult to national pride. Financial analysts have predicted a Trump win would threaten billions of dollars in cross-border trade, and government officials say they have drawn up a contingency plan for such a scenario, though without releasing details.

 

The Mexican peso, which has tracked the U.S. election closely, fell sharply to 20.45 to the dollar late Tuesday before recovering somewhat.

In Europe, NATO allies now wait to see if Trump follows through on suggestions that Americawill look at whether they have paid their proper share in considering whether to come to their defense.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called the vote "a big shock" and "a vote against Washington, against the establishment."

Von der Leyen said on German public Television Wednesday that while many questions remain open, "We Europeans obviously know that as partners in NATO, Donald Trump will naturally ask what 'are you achieving for the alliance,' but we will also ask 'what's your stand toward the alliance.'"

 

The French populist, anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen congratulated Trump even before the final results were known, tweeting her support to the "American people, free!"

Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France would work with the new president and that European politicians should heed the message from Trump votes. "There is a part of our electorate that feels ... abandoned," including people who feel "left behind by globalization," he said.

Moscow has been unusually prominent in the race. Clinton's campaign and the Obama administration blamed Russian hackers for leaked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign staff. Trump, in turn, has made complimentary remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin; the ties of some of his advisers and former campaign officials to Russia have raised suspicions.

 

"We of course regard with satisfaction that the better candidate of the two presented to the American voters was victorious," said Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of Russia's nationalist Liberal Democratic party, according to the Interfax news agency.

In Asia, security issues and trade will top the agenda for the new administration, from North Korea and the South China Sea to the contentious and yet-unratified Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Chinese state media and government-backed commentators had signaled Beijing's preference for a Trump win. Like Russia, China is seen as favoring Trump because he appears less willing to confront China's newly robust foreign policy, particularly in the South China Sea.

 

Clinton, by contrast, is disliked in Beijing for having steered the U.S. "pivot" to Asia aimed at strengthening U.S. engagement with the region, particularly in the military sphere.

Scholar Mei Xinyu wrote in the Communist Party newspaper Global Times that China would find it easier to cope with a Trump presidency.

"Trump has always insisted on abandoning ideological division and minimizing the risks that unnecessary conflicts with other countries may bring to the U.S.," Mei wrote.

News of Trump's widening lead hit hard in Cuba, which has spent the last two years negotiating normalization with the United States after more than 50 years of Cold War hostility, setting off a tourism boom. Trump has promised to roll back Obama's opening with Cuba unless President Raul Castro agrees to more political freedoms.

 

"If he reverses it, it hurts us," taxi driver Oriel Iglesias Garcia said. "You know tourism will go down."

Economist and political scientist Esteban Morales told Telesur network that Cuba's Communist Party leaders "must be worried because I think this represents a new chapter."

However, retired diplomat Carlos Alzugaray said a Trump victory could please some hard-liners who worry Cuba is moving too close to the United States too quickly.

"There's been a lot of rejection of what's been done with Obama," Alzugaray said. "Many Cubans think that a situation of confrontation is better for the revolution."

At a pub in Sydney, Pamela Clark-Pearman, a 63-year-old Clinton supporter, sat nursing a beer and watching the TV.

 

"I never thought the Americans could be so stupid. I just think it's Brexit all over again," Clark-Pearman said, referring to the U.K. vote to leave the European Union. "He can't possibly win. America's supposed to be the most successful country in the world."

In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, social media was abuzz with speculation about whether Trump would follow through on campaign rhetoric calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Some said they fear they would be prevented from visiting relatives and friends who live in America or traveling there as tourists.

Trump was born to money on June 14, 1946, in the New York City borough of Queens, the fourth of five children of Fred Trump, who would become one of the city's biggest developers and landlords, and his wife. It was Fred Trump who taught Donald the value of self-promotion and a killer instinct.

 

By his own admission, Trump was not an easy child and in the eighth grade his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy in hopes of instilling needed discipline. Through student and medical deferments during the Vietnam War, Trump would never serve in the US military but said the school gave him "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military."

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Trump went to work for his father's company, which focused on the outer New York City boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island and owned an estimated 15,000 apartments. In 1973 the Trumps were charged with racial bias in their rental practices before reaching a settlement with the US government.

 

With a $1 million loan from his father, Trump eventually went into business himself in Manhattan, where he became a regular at some of the city's most exclusive clubs and developed a reputation as a ladies' man.