“The world as we know it has ended,” comments Michale Žantovský, head of the Václav Havel Library, on Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president.
Others also speak of change. “These elections weren’t at all about opinions. The people have shown that what matters to them is change in Washington,” is the verdict of renowned doctor Bohdan Pomahač.
Bohuslav Sobotka, prime minister, head of the Czech Social Democratic Party: “The citizens of the U.S. have chosen change. Let’s respect that and take it pragmatically. Trump, unlike some of his predecessors, at least knows where the Czech Republic is. I congratulate newly elected president Trump and believe that the U.S. will continue to be a reliable partner and ally under his leadership. Trump wagered on aggressive populism and mustered protest votes from the right and the left. The most difficult thing now will be to overcome the ensuing division in American society.”
Andrej Babiš, head of the ANO movement*: “Donald Trump gained voters’ interest because he acts pragmatically and directly. His election does not threaten the Czech economy. The fact is, I don’t support Trump, even if some people mistakenly compare me to him. His statements about women are unacceptable to me.”
Pavel Bělebrádek, deputy prime minister and chair of the CDU-ČSL [Christian and Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People’s Party]: “It’s a phenomenon in Europe and America, people simply want some sort of change, they are tired of these experiments, they want solutions [to problems] that concern them. For us it’s certainly a warning or inspiration. It is evident that Europeans must be far more perceptive of what Americans think. I understand it when Trump says that European NATO countries mush increase their defense expenditures; even the Obama administration has mentioned that.”
Miroslav Kalousek, chair of TOP 09 [a conservative political party]: “I hope Donald Trump does not carry out most of his campaign promises.”
Matěj Stropnický, chair of the Green Party: “Donald Trump’s victory is a desperate attempt to bring back the ascendancy of the white man in a world which no longer belongs to white men. Trump will not manage to return the world of yesterday, [a world] on whose deeply outdated program he campaigned. His program of renewed ascendancy does not represent a solution.”
Michale Žantovský, head of the Václav Havel Library: “The world as we know it has ended.”
Vladimír Dlouhý, president, Chamber of Commerce: “Donald Trump’s victory in the American presidential elections is an uprising of poor Americans against white elites who, figuratively as well as conceptually speaking, ‘have been feeding at the trough—with much smacking of lips.’** But, unlike other politicians, I don’t think that Trump is a solution.”
Michal Horáček, [Czech] presidential candidate: “In the final race, I wished Trump’s rival victory. But one thing I did like: Mrs. Clinton did not disappear out the back door. She called Mr. Trump, acknowledged his victory and congratulated him on it. So the civility of U.S. politics lives on, and I also congratulate [them] on that. The victory was achieved through a regular democratic process. That pleases me as well. Let’s not call Mr. Trump’s voters idiots who didn’t understand anything. The same goes for the people who voted for Brexit. It’s a sovereign decision of freely deciding citizens. Long live democracy! Even in the event — and especially in the event — that it brings different results than we might be personally inclined toward.”
Luděk Niedermayer, member of the European Parliament, TOP 09: “First Brexit and now Trump. Europe, now in an unusual state of disarray, must stick together more and take its share of responsibility for internal events internal as well as those in the wider world.”
Bohdan Pomahač, Czech physician living in the U.S.: “These elections weren’t about opinions at all. The people have shown that they care about change in Washington, about ending the influence of individual political families like the Bushes and the Clintons. It’s clear, however, that Mrs. Clinton would have been the more qualified president. What Trump will be able to change is a big question. But not nearly as much as he had hoped and promised, in my personal opinion.”
Charlotta Kotíková, art historian and great-granddaughter of T. G. Masaryk [first president of interwar Czechoslovakia], living in the U.S.: “I always had moments of doubt about a Hillary Clinton victory. I had the feeling that voters in small towns hadn’t been well addressed. But I take a dim view of Trump’s win. It’s not just Trump — yellow hair in the White House — but also the idea, that Melania Trump will be First Lady where Eleanor Roosevelt used to be. That’s utterly incomprehensible to me. It’s moral degeneracy.”
Joseph Michl, chemist working in the U.S.: “I don’t take any joy in the results. At one moment or another during the campaign, Mr. Trump expressed nearly every possible opinion on every topic, so it’s hard to tell what he’ll really try to do. But I fear one thing, that he’ll take a step backwards for what’s most important in the long term: reducing further carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. He’ll transform America much less than he’s promised, because he’ll need the approval of Congress. Where approval exists, he’ll succeed, so that, for instance, tens of millions of people will lose the health insurance that Obama has set up.”
Lubomír Zaorálek, foreign minister, Czech Social Democratic Party: “I congratulate Donald Trump on his election to the office of president of the United States. Presumably a new era of Euro-Atlantic relations is beginning. The Czech Republic and the U.S. are united by a long-term friendship and strategic partnership, which, I believe, will continue just as successfully as heretofore.”
Michal Chovanec, interior minister, Czech Social Democratic Party: “Donald Trump’s most difficult task will be to once again unite America. I believe that America will find the strength within itself and it may turn out in the future that this election wasn’t as bad as many people imply. It’s not a surprise to me, I’d even made my bet half a year ago that Donald Trump would win, because he opted for very tough rhetoric on the themes that stir not just Europe, but apparently also the United States. I believe that Czech-American relations are firm enough that there’s no reason to change anything on the matter. Trump’s election doesn’t mean a security threat or the weakening of NATO in Europe. But Europe will have to emancipate itself. Donald Trump has ties to the Czech Republic, so I hope he’ll come here soon.”
Daniel Herman, minister of culture, CDU-ČSL [Christian and Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People’s Party]: “When Columbus discovered America, Prague had already had a university for about 140 years. Europe coped with it. So don’t worry America, we’re with you.”
Ondřej Benešík, deputy chair, CDU-ČSL [Christian and Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People’s Party], and chair, Parliamentary Committee for European Affairs: “Certain changes and a reevaluation of the relationship with Europe will come about, but I wouldn’t expect anything earth-shattering. What’s said in the electoral campaign is one thing, and what really happens is another. The U.S. is very decentralized, the president has great authority, true, but it’s not like in Russia, where if the president says something, that’s it. He’ll have to seek consensus in the Senate and Congress, and I believe they’ll find a balanced policy toward Europe.”
Petr Gazdík, Chair, Mayors and Independents Movement***: “Mayors and Independents consider it an undoubtable fact that Donald Trump was victorious in the democratic elections in accordance with the will of the majority of U.S. citizens. We are convinced that solid support in the Euro-Atlantic alliance is absolutely key to securing a worthy and respected position for our country in the world. Only such a relationship will guarantee a peaceful and free future for the countries of Europe. We firmly believe that the new American President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the new U.S. administration are also conscious of this reality.
Martin Půta, governor of the Liberec Region, Mayors and Independents: “Voters in the U.S. want America to be great again. Nothing remains but to believe Donald Trump will pleasantly surprise, just like the underrated Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s. And America will be stronger than in the last eight years.
Pavel Telička, member of the European Parliament, ANO: “Trump is not the optimal partner for the EU. But it’s up to him what kind of relations we will have. Will he bring things together?”
Standpoint of the Václav Klaus Institute: “We are convinced that it is good for America, for Europe and the entire West, and for the Czech Republic. It’s good for the whole world. We dare to say that the Václav Klaus Institute also was victorious in the American presidential elections, and we are proud of it. Normal, ordinary people using common sense won the American elections. They triumphed over political elites, triumphed over the political establishment, triumphed over the manipulation of a united media front, and over the most influential and powerful interest groups. The world of political correctness has been defeated, a world of pretension, a world that oppresses freedom of expression, a world of elitist social engineering, and a world reconciled to the decline of the West and the renunciation of its traditional values. A political direction that has dominated for a quarter of a century has been defeated, one which has various names and representatives in various countries of the world — in our country we call them Havelists. We expect, though, that it will not last long, and that many of them will become devoted Trumpists.”
*As of 2012, a political party in the Czech Republic, although one that primarily identifies itself as a political movement. Its roots are in the widespread public support for Andrej Babiš’s anti-corruption stance, which grouped under the name Akce nespokojených občanů (Action of Dissatisfied Citizens). That was abbreviated to ANO which also means “yes” in Czech.
**Translation of an idiom meaning that they have enjoyed ill-gotten gains — and indiscreetly at that.
***The Mayors and Independents (Starostové a nezávislí) is a Czech political party focused on transferring more powers to the municipalities.