Trump prematurely claims victory as world waits nervously, impatiently for U.S. vote count

A TV screen shows images of U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during a news program, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)A TV screen shows images of U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during a news program, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A man wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus reads the headlines about the U.S. presidential elections at a newspapers stand in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. The world is watching as millions of Americans cast their ballots for the next president on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)A man wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus reads the headlines about the U.S. presidential elections at a newspapers stand in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. The world is watching as millions of Americans cast their ballots for the next president on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives with his wife Jill Biden to speak to supporters Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives with his wife Jill Biden to speak to supporters Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

From Ford Model T cars that popped off the assembly line in just 90 minutes to 60-second service for burgers, the United States has had a major hand in making the world a frenetic and impatient place, primed and hungry for instant gratification.

So waking up to the news Wednesday that the winner of the U.S. election might not be known for hours, days or longer — pundits filled global airwaves with their best bets — was jarring for a planet weaned on that most American of exports: speed.

In the absence of an immediate winner between President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden, the guessing game of trying to figure out which of them would end up in the White House, and how, quickly turned global. Government leaders scrambled to digest the delay and ordinary people swapped views, hopes and fears on feeds and phones.

“I’m hearing it may take some time before things are sorted out,” said the finance minister of Japan, Taro Aso. “I have no idea how it may affect us.”

In Paris, a Spanish resident, Javier Saenz, was stunned to wake up without a declared winner.

WATCH: Trump wins Florida, locked in other tight races with Biden

“I thought there was going to be something clear. And I have read different articles, no one really knows who is going to win,” he said. “I am very shocked by that.”

But the lack of result was not that surprising to experts — and not, in an of itself, an indication that anything was wrong. In a year turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, many states made it easier to vote by mail. That meant a slowdown in compiling results because postal ballots mail often take longer to process than those cast at polling places.

Still, the unease of not knowing was mixing with sharpening concerns about how America might heal after the divisive election and anxieties fueled by Trump’s own extraordinary and premature claims of victory and his threat to take the election to the Supreme Court to stop counting.

From Europe, in particular, came appeals for patience and a complete tally of votes. In Slovenia, the birthplace of first lady Melania Trump, the right-wing prime minister, Janez Jansa, claimed it was “pretty clear that American people have elected Donald Trump,” but he was a lonely voice among leaders in jumping ahead of any firm outcome.

The German vice chancellor, Olaf Scholz, insisted on a complete tally, saying: “It is important for us that everything be counted and in the end we have a clear result.”

The main industry lobbying group in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, warned that business confidence could be damaged by sustained uncertainty. And the German defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said that “the battle over the legitimacy of the result — whatever it will look like — has now begun.”

“This is a very explosive situation. It is a situation of which experts rightly say it could lead to a constitutional crisis in the U.S.,” she said on ZDF television. “That is something that must certainly worry us very much.”

In financial markets, investors struggled to make sense of it all, sending some indexes up and others down.

In the vacuum of no immediate winner, there was some gloating from Russia, Africa and other parts of the world that have repeatedly been on the receiving end of U.S. criticism, with claims that the election and the vote count were exposing the imperfections of American democracy.

“Africa used to learn American democracy, America is now learning African democracy,” tweeted Nigerian Sen. Shehu Sani, reflecting a common view from some on a continent long used to troubled elections and U.S. criticism of them.

In Zimbabwe, the ruling ZANU-PF party’s spokesman, Patrick Chinamasa, said: “We have nothing to learn about democracy from former slave owners.”

Traditional U.S. allies clung to the belief that regardless of whether Trump or Biden emerged as the winner, the fundamentals that have long underpinned some of America’s key relationships would survive the uncertainty and the U.S. electoral process.

“Whatever the result of the election, they will remain our allies for many years and decades, that is certain,” said Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market.

That idea was echoed by the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, who told a parliamentary session that “the Japan-U.S. alliance is the foundation of Japanese diplomacy, and on that premise I will develop solid relationship with a new president.”

John Leicester, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Donald TrumpJoe BidenU.S. election

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No face-offs until at least Dec. 8 after the BCHL shuts down pre-sesason play. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Capitals’ exhibition season cut short

BCHL cancels remainder of the pre-season

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

The field at Sherman Road is closed to travelling teams after soccer is shut down due to COVID-19. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Soccer in Cowichan put on hold due to COVID-19

“We have a temporary clarification that we can’t travel to other communities”

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Most Read