LIVE: ‘Devastating’, ‘heartbreaking’, ‘clearly wrong’ – progressives respond to Trump’s election

Theresa May has congratulated the President-elect

 

This morning, Britain’s progressive leaders have issued responses to the shock election of Donald Trump.

Jeremy Corbyn said that the vote must be a ‘wake-up call’, saying that ‘need for a real alternative to a failed economic and political system could not be clearer.’ But he also insisted that ‘some of Trump’s answers to the big questions facing America, and the divisive rhetoric around them, are clearly wrong.’

Nicola Sturgeon, in her capacity as First Minister, issued a measured statement, but acknowledged that she is disappointed by the result.

“While this is not the outcome I hoped for, it is the verdict of the American people and we must respect it. I congratulate president-elect Trump on winning the election.

“We value our relationship with the United States and its people.  The ties that bind Scotland and the US – of family, culture and business – are deep and longstanding and they will always endure.

“It is normal in any election for those on the losing side to be feel disappointment, but today, many in America and across the world, will also feel a real sense of anxiety. I hope the president-elect will take the opportunity to reach out to those who felt marginalized by his campaign and make clear – in deeds as well as words – that he will be a president for everyone in modern, multicultural America.

“Today must also be a moment for those who share progressive values – all of us who believe in tolerance and diversity – to speak up loudly and clearly for the values we hold dear.

“I also want to pay tribute to Hillary Clinton. While I am personally disappointed that she will not be America’s first woman president, her candidacy represented a major step forward for women in America and across the world – for that, as well as for her many years of public service, she is owed a deep debt of gratitude.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale issued a much more forceful and emotional statement:

“Like countless people in Scotland, the UK, and across the globe I watched with great sadness as the results from the presidential election came in.

“While we must all respect the result of this democratic contest, today is a dark day for those of us who believe in compassion, tolerance and equality. Donald Trump was responsible for a hate-filled campaign that was dominated by lies, misogyny and racism. As president-elect, he now has a responsibility to America and the world to heal the deep divisions he has caused.

“Across the US, there will be women, gay people and Muslims who will now be incredibly worried about the direction of their country, but there will also be countless working-class Americans who will be hurting today. They all need reassurances that I very much hope will be forthcoming from the Republican Party.

“I was a great admirer of Hillary Clinton, and campaigned for her in America so I personally feel heartbroken by this result. I believe Hillary would have been a great president – the most qualified female presidential candidate ever has been defeated by the least-qualified male candidate ever.

“But the United States and Scotland share a rich history and friendship between our people. That will not be swept away by one election result.”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has responded by calling for a rejuvenation of liberal values:

“Liberal values of moderation, freedom, respect for the rule of law, openness and concern for one another can no longer be taken for granted. In the United States last night, those values were defeated.

“But those values are vital if we are to live together in peace, prosperity and freedom.

“Those of us who care passionately for those liberal values need to fight for them, to win the arguments, to inspire new generations to the great and historic cause of liberalism. Never in my lifetime have those liberal values been so under threat, and never have they been more relevant and necessary.”

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas also called for action, saying that this is not a time to mourn, but to organise.

“This is a devastating day for women, for people of colour, for disabled people and for an inclusive society in the USA.

“Trump’s election is also a hammer blow for the fight against climate change – and presents a genuine threat to some of the poorest people in the world who will suffer its effects worse.

“But this is no time to mourn – instead we must organize like never before to keep our communities cohesive and our climate safe. On this dark day we extend the hand of friendship to people in the USA who wake up in fear – we know that you are not defined by the hatred espoused by your new president. But it’s at times like this when we need to unite, learn, resist and hope more than ever before. Today, in whatever ways we can, let’s light a candle rather than curse the darkness.”

Colum Eastwood, leader of Northern Ireland’s SDLP, has vowed to boycott any functions in the Trump White House, and has called on other Irish and Irish-American leaders to do the same:

He commented:

“Donald Trump has proven over the course of a 16-month campaign that he is not just a populist or a fool but a bigot.

“This man has plumbed the depths of dehumanising and dangerous rhetoric aimed at stirring up sectarian, racial and xenophobic hatred.”

“As Leader of the SDLP and the progressive nationalist tradition on this island, I will not give any support to such an administration, founded on bigotry, by attending the White House under a Trump presidency.

“It is incumbent on other Irish and Irish American politicians to make similar declarations.

“The people of Ireland know, better than most, how dangerous the politics of hate and division can be. We have suffered at the hands of those who seek to divide people on the basis of their faith or their nationality.

“It is our duty, given the unshakable bond between our people and the people of the United States, to take a stand against those who seek to perpetuate similar division.”

 

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