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How Europe Is Reacting To The U.S. Election


To Europe now, where some people are disappointed by the knife-edge election results and alarmed by President Trump's false claims of victory and fraud. In a moment, we'll hear from NPR's Rob Schmitz in Berlin. But let's start with Frank Langfitt in London.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: President Trump's surprise victory four years ago shook the confidence of many here in American democracy. Trump's showing yesterday has only compounded those concerns. Tania Park is a massage therapist who lives in Cambridge.

TANIA PARK: It shook him when he got in the first time, and now it just feels a bit scary.

LANGFITT: Cristabel Pyor DuFee (ph) is from Ghana and works here in London. She's worried Trump is undermining confidence in the election.

CRISTABEL PYOR DUFEE: It's misleading because it's going to get his supporters also believing that, oh, he's won. It's not good to do that. It creates chaos in the country. I think he should just wait - be patient and trust the system.

LANGFITT: Ben Helm (ph) is a student at the London School of Economics. He thinks many here just don't see the U.S. in the same way they once did.

BEN HELM: I really don't think that people look to the states as a beacon to watch anymore.

LANGFITT: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a close ally of Trump's, and he's desperate for a post-Brexit free trade deal with the U.S. British officials declined to comment on Trump's false claims of victory and fraud, which led to this exchange between BBC anchor Katty Kay and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.


KATTY KAY: This is the president of the United States subverting democracy. As a close friend, wouldn't it be good for you to call your close friend out?

DOMINIC RAAB: We're not going to get involved in the election night or the morning-after-the-election commentary. We'll wait for the definitive result. We have full faith in the American system.

LANGFITT: Like the U.S., Britain is also deeply polarized, as the shock 2016 Brexit vote proved. And Trump does have his fans here, people like Rosely Harvey (ph), who spoke to the BBC's Jeremy Vine show today.


ROSELY HARVEY: I think he's a very good president, and he's also very good for the U.K. Regardless of whether you like him or loathe him, he says what he does. And I believe him.

LANGFITT: Frank Langfitt, NPR News, London.

ROB SCHMITZ, BYLINE: And I'm Rob Schmitz in Berlin, where the country's most prominent politicians are voicing alarm over President Trump's premature declaration of victory, his labeling of routine vote counting as fraudulent and his hinting that he'd use the U.S. Supreme Court as a tool to ensure four more years.

NORBERT ROTTGEN: This shows, in my eyes clearly, a total lack of respect for the law.

SCHMITZ: Norbert Rottgen, a potential candidate to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor next year, chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German Parliament.

ROTTGEN: There can be no doubt that the counting process is ongoing, that nobody has a base or a right to declare victory and that everybody is bound to respect the voting of the people, which has not been counted yet.

SCHMITZ: Rottgen says another four years of President Trump would pose a fundamental challenge to the foreign policy of both Germany and the European Union. Former German ambassador to the U.S., Wolfgang Ischinger, says the damage already done by Trump in his first term has been considerable.

WOLFGANG ISCHINGER: (Speaking German).

SCHMITZ: He told broadcaster ZDF that regardless of who becomes president, there'd be no reason for euphoria or panic. We survived four years of Trump, he says. And if Joe Biden wins, the problems that exist across the Atlantic will not simply disappear overnight.

Rob Schmitz, NPR News, Berlin.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAMIE XX'S "OBVS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe.
Rob Schmitz is NPR's international correspondent based in Berlin, where he covers the human stories of a vast region reckoning with its past while it tries to guide the world toward a brighter future. From his base in the heart of Europe, Schmitz has covered Germany's levelheaded management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of right-wing nationalist politics in Poland and creeping Chinese government influence inside the Czech Republic.
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