By: Alexis Cope
After rioters charged on the US Capitol this previous Wednesday, all the living former presidents responded to the events, condemning the violence and calling it “sickening” and “unprecedented,” and they urged Trump to accept the results of the election as they asked for a peaceful transition of power. International leaders quickly followed suit as the news and images travelled across the world.
Almost all those abroad who have spoken up about the event have condemned the actions of Trump’s supporters. Both allies and enemies of the United States raised their voices or took actions to show their disapproval at the contention and vehemence observed on that day. From tweets to recorded messages to press conferences, messages from the leaders of nations across the world quickly flooded in.
Distress and disgust at the events of Wednesday was expressed by several heads of state.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, said “lawlessness and violence are the opposite of the values we know Americans and Israelis cherish.” He called the riots “the rampage at the Capitol” and “vigorously” condemned the events.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced the events, blaming Trump: “When a sick person takes office, we see how he disgraces his country and creates troubles for the world.”
“The riots and protests that we’ve seen…have been terribly distressing,” remarked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He also released an updated travel advisory for Australian citizens wishing to visit the US.
Brazilian Chief Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Bassero called those involved in the attack “supporters of facism”.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel singled out Trump, stating that “words of provocation are completely wrong” and that “every aspect” of scenes in D.C. should be “condemned”.
“These pictures made me angry and sad,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “But for me, it is a sign of hope that the Congress continued their work that night.”
Many stressed the important symbolic significance of American democracy, urging Trump and his followers to accept the results of the election and cease with the violence.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom Trump has had a close relationship with in the past, tweeted that the attacks were “terribly distressing” and that it is “vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” Patel reinforced this, saying that “America is a beacon of democracy and freedom and, quite frankly…they [need to] move on and get on with an orderly transition.” The PM also said that “all my life America has stood for…an idea of freedom and an idea of democracy.”
Merkel spoke for “the millions of people who admire America’s democratic tradition” as she stood behind the results of the 2020 election, saying that the country “must [begin] a new chapter in its democracy in less than two weeks.”
Tweeting after receiving the news, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote: “Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and will be.”
“We hope that the democracy of America will overcome this turmoil and regain peace and cooperation of society,” commented Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato. “We hope that the transition of power will proceed peacefully and democratically.”
Netanyahu declared, “American democracy has always inspired me….I have no doubt that American democracy will prevail. It always has.”
French President Emmanuel Macron passionately spoke in his recorded message saying, “France stands strongly…and resolutely with the American people…who want to choose their leaders…through the democratic and free choice that are elections. We will not yield one iota to the violence of the few who would challenge that.”
Other countries also responded, though less explicitly.
Joanne Ou, spokesperson for the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke in a press conference about the riots, saying: “We have learned about the conflict…Taiwan’s Foriegn Ministry expresses regret….We will continue to pay close attention to relevant developments.”
While Russian President Vladamir Putin made no statement about the disturbance, chairman of the Russian upper house foreign affairs committee Konstantin Kosachev boldly spoke out saying, “I say this without a hint of gloating,” Kosachev wrote on Facebook Thursday. “America no longer defines the course, and therefore has lost all right to set it. And even more so to impose it on others.”
Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke in her own press conference on Thursday, comparing the protests on the Capitol to those in Hong Kong. Questioning why the protesters in Hong Kong were called “a beautiful sight” while Trump’s supporters were labeled as “thugs, extremists, villains, and disgraces.” “I think,” she concluded, “we should think deeply about the reason behind the sharp contrast of such different attitudes.”
As calls for Trump’s removal grow louder, more White House staff resign, more prominent Republican figures leave Trump behind, and Inauguration Day grows closer, it is clear that now, more than ever, the eyes of the world are fixed on the United States.