Portugal’s president and political parties react to the “Trumpocalypse”

Depending on which papers you read, the US election result has been described as a ‘Trumpocalypse’, a ‘Trumpquake’, the dawn of a ‘New World Order’, an ‘American Revolution’ – under an ‘American Psycho’ and predictably ‘The beginning of the End’.

“What have they done?” The UK’s Daily Mirror shows an image of the State of Liberty hiding her face in her hands. “D’oh!” says the Sun in a speech bubble from Homer Simpson (harking back to a ‘wacky moment’ years ago in the iconic series when Donald Trump ascended to the American presidency).

As the world was reported to be in shock by a media that had waged a relentless battle against the new president-elect since he entered the race for the White House, Portugal’s Head of State Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa lost no time in congratulating him – sending off a relatively brief message of support as votes were still being counted in the early hours on Wednesday morning.

President Marcelo wished Donald Trump “success in the exercise of his functions” and referred to “the bonds of friendship” that have united Portugal and the US for years, and the “significant community of Portuguese and Portuguese-descendents resident in the United states of America”.

The government too followed official protocol, extending its “felicitations” and alluding to the “vast and diversified” cooperation between the two nations “covering areas like defence, security, commerce, investment, science and technology”.

It was left to the always-ready-to-smile prime minister António Costa to make a vague joke about the “good news” and the “bad news” that everyone has to face in their day-to-day.

Pressed to qualify his comments, Costa managed to extricate himself from the bobbing melée of news-reporting microphones without giving them any meaty soundbytes.

And so it was only the government’s minority parties that found themselves able to ‘gnash their teeth’ and bewail the result.

Bloco de Esquerda has called it “the worst news” and a “victory of a politics of hate”, while the PCP says it fears the possibility of America adopting “reactionary and aggressive external politics”.

With the CDS-PP referring to the (yet again) failure of the polls which had predicted a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton, it was perhaps only PAN – the party that musters only one MP – to give a balanced overview.

“None of the candidates offer real solutions for global leadership in terms of a new paradigm that disassociates itself from military expansion, the corporative control of politics, the protection of ecosystems, the pressing need to de-carbonise North American and world economies” and practices generally that would eliminate “anthropocentrism”, said the party in a press statement.

In a way, PAN has seen through the media hysteria, if only to realise that any result would have been far from ideal.

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Photo: © 2016 Presidência da República Portuguesa