“I imagine it has been a long night for us all. America has voted, and the significance of this election result – including for us – is by no means to be underestimated. The result is different to what most people in Germany had hoped to see. But of course we accept it.
It is good that the election campaign is over, as the way it was conducted has left deep scars. It will not be easy to heal them. On more than one occasion during the campaign, I expressed my concern about how it was being conducted.
If Donald Trump really wants to be President for all Americans, as he said this morning, then his first task will be to fill in the deep rifts that developed in US society during the election campaign. But the challenge of dealing with and meeting the high expectations that Trump himself created will be even greater. It will not be easy to make America great again, also as regards the economy, or to create new jobs in this situation and in the current economic environment.
Above all, however, I hope that we will not face larger rifts in international politics. During the election campaign, Trump expressed criticism not only of Europe, but also of Germany. I think we will have to get used to the idea that US foreign policy will be less predictable for us and we will have to get used to the idea that the US will tend to make more decisions on its own.
In other words, I don’t want to pretend it will be easy. Nothing will be easier. Much will be harder. But I am highly aware that functioning transatlantic relations are something like the foundation of the West. That is why we cannot relinquish this foundation. Furthermore, there are countless ties between our country and the US which we need to maintain and foster. In the same way that we Germans learned a great deal from our American friends in the past, we may now encourage our American friends to stand by the partnerships that have developed in the past, and thus to stand by us.
We do not know how Trump will govern the US. Many questions remain open. Naturally, we will seek dialogue in order to receive answers to these questions. But in my view, today is also an occasion to remind ourselves in Germany and Europe that we cannot afford to allow ourselves to be thrown off course by this election result. We should remain a stronghold of reason and we should foster our political culture. What we have achieved together here in Germany – economic reason combined with social responsibility – has made us a recognised partner within Europe and beyond. And we can stand confidently to this.”