Some US allies warn that the democratic process must be respected, while some others take Trump’s premature claim of victory at face value.
President Donald Trump’s premature claim of victory in the presidential election was the cause of consternation across the US media, with outlets such as CNN and NPR outright calling the claim false.
Despite the president’s claims that “we have already won it”, as things stand, neither Trump nor Biden has enough electoral college votes to secure victory with a number of key battleground states waiting for absentee ballots to be counted before calling the race one way or the other.
Trump has already made a move to get the conservative-majority Supreme Court to stop counting ballots in a number of states baselessly citing electoral fraud.
On his preferred medium of Twitter, the president said: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
The tweet was labeled misleading by the social media network.
While a potential political crisis develops in the US, some of Washington’s allies find themselves in a bit of bind, with many choosing not to react in one way or the other, some taking the president’s claim of victory without questioning it, and others warning Trump to respect the democratic process.
The strongest comments have come from one of Germany’s most senior ministers.
Germany’s Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told the ZDF channel that the ongoing spat over the validity of ballots in the US was a “great concern to us all”.
“The battle for the legitimacy of the result, whatever the outcome, has begun. This is a very explosive situation, a situation of which the experts rightly say it could lead to a constitutional crisis in the United States,” she said in comments reported by Politico.
On the other side, Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Jansa felt confident enough to accept Trump’s declaration of victory, even going as far as condemning mainstream media ‘fact denying’.
Others, such as the UK’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab have decided to play it diplomatically while avoiding the issue of Trump’s claim of victory.
Raab said: “I'm confident and have full faith in the US institutions and the checks and balances in the US system that will produce a definitive result. So we’ll watch with interest but forgive me if I don't comment on the commentary.”
But whereas politicians in power choose to watch their words, those in opposition are more cutting in their analysis of the situation.
In the UK, the opposition Labour party’s shadow Foreign Minister Lisa Nandy called Trump’s threat to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the legality of some ballots ‘shocking’ and clearly stated her preference for a Biden win.
“I think it’s clear too that the UK has got have a reset in its approach with the United States,” Nandy said, adding: “While Donald Trump has been very clear that he’s standing up for American interests, it’s not been at all clear that our government has managed to do the same.”
Nandy’s Australian counterpart, Senator Penny Wong, delivered a statement that was more fittingly addressed to a Middle Eastern autocracy rather than the US.
“The democratic process must be respected, even when it takes time,” Wong wrote on Twitter.
“It’s in Australia’s interest that America remains a credible, stable democracy.”