Local politicians have reacted to Donald Trump’s shock victory in the US Presidential elections, with one saying he has “more worries than hopes at the start of a Trump presidency.”
Mid and East Antrim SDLP Councillor Declan O’Loan, whose party leader Collum Eastwood had previously said he wouldn’t attend the Whitehouse if Trump was elected president, said he thought Trump was a “very untrustworthy character.”
“While recognising that many people were expressing their dissatisfaction over politics as it is currently done, I have a lot more worries than hopes at the start of a Trump presidency,” he told the Times.
“I don’t think it’s for the good of America that we have an unknown quantity coming in to the biggest elected position in the world and who has issue a number of signals that are alarming.
“This is a many who may not engage with NATO and who may bring the US into an isolationist position in terms of trade and movement of people.
“That has the potential to do enormous damage to the world economy.”
When asked about the effect the election result would have on the relationship between Northern Ireland and the US, Cllr O’Loan said that “life has to go on.”
“The British and Irish governments will have to do their best to create a constructive working relationship with the new presidency and I hope it can be done and US investment into Northern Ireland is something that will continue, but indications are that the US is moving away from its position on the world stage,” he said.
East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said Trump’s victory was down to “ordinary people who like straight talking and are fed up of a ruling elite who think they know better than the rest of the population.”
He stated: “Just like the decision to leave the EU, the prejudiced and blinded liberal pundits of the media didn’t see the election of Donald Trump coming.
“As with Brexit they couldn’t believe that there were large numbers of people who did not hold their view of life, politics and how society should be ordered. Once again they have been defied by the will of ordinary people who like straight talking and are fed up of a ruling elite who think they know better than the rest of the population.
“There will be challenges for places like NI from an administration which may be less inclined to support free trade and will try to keep jobs in America rather than have US firms invest abroad. That is why it is essential that NI establish good relationships with the new US administration.
“We should respect the decision of the American people, realise that they have elected a straight talking president and do some straight talking ourselves as to why economic links between his country and ours can be mutually beneficial,” he concluded.
East Antrim DUP MLA and Junior Minister Alastair Ross said that it was of “huge import” for Northern Ireland to build a “strong relationship” with the President elect.
He commented: “The ‘Special Relationship’ between the US and the UK is important for both nations, not least in the areas of trade and defence.
“For us in Northern Ireland we have developed strong relationships and secured privileged access to various administrations, both Republican and Democrat.
“US companies are our most significant investors and so it is important that we build a strong relationship with President elect Trump and continue to ensure that the Northern Ireland link continues to strengthen to the benefit of people in both countries.”
Posting on Facebook, Alliance MLA Stewart Dixon added: “We now more than ever need a united Europe to deal with the USA.”