US expats having a tough time explaining Trump

Published:  25 Nov at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Citizenship, Euro, England
American expats living and working in Europe are having a hard time explaining Trump’s presidential election victory to their European friends and co-workers.

Many Americans living in Europe are facing awkward questions form their local colleagues and friends about the shock result of the recent USA presidential election. Europeans and Britons are desperate to find out how the Donald managed to win, given the controversial tone and content of his campaign with its attacks on women and minorities and revelations of sexual assault.

One 32-year-old US expat working in Berlin has been facing a barrage of questions and is fully aware of the undercurrents of the conversations. He told the media he is well aware of unspoken comments such as ‘what the hell is America thinking’ and ‘can you speak for the USA?’ but has to admit he has no answers to give.

He’s certain that America now is not a place he recognises, and takes no comfort from the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote whilst Trump is now the president-elect. Britons looking for answers from their US expat colleagues are even more confused by the result, as the American electoral system is little understood, and Trump is disliked and distrusted in the UK.

Earlier this year, whilst Trump’s rantings were at their most divisive, the British parliament debated a motion to bar Trump from the UK for his comments about Muslims. Although the motion failed, insults ranging from ‘ridiculous xenophobe’ to ‘American self-publicity’s orange prince’ were heard all over the House of Commons as well as in the chamber itself.

A US expat from Sacramento is concerned that she’s expected to be able to explain where and why it all went wrong. She’s been approached on trains by complete strangers who’ve recognised her accent as American and attempt to discuss American politics with her. ‘Is this for real?’ is a regular question she simply can’t answer.

One Republican supporter thinks Trumpism, like Brexit, is an attempt to correct the excesses of globalisation. It’s a good point, but it seems few US citizens overseas believe Trump can pull it off, any more than a good proportion of Brits believe Brexit is the answer to unemployment in the UK.
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