The Argentine government has been reacting today to the news that Donald Trump was elected to become the 45th US President of the United States after defeating favourite Hillary Clinton.
Though the government had shown a preference for a Clinton victory, officials today said they would adapt to the surprise result and seek to immediately begin working with the next US president.
President Mauricio Macri tweeted his reaction to the news this morning, stating ‘I congratulate @realDonaldTrump in his triumph and I hope that we can work together for the good of our people.’
Foreign Affairs Minister Susana Malcorra also tweeted Trump this morning, stating ‘The North American people have spoken at the polls. @realDonaldTrump has won. Congratulations to democracy and your institutions’ and ‘Congratulations @realDonaldTrump for being the new President-elect of the United States.’
She discussed this further with an interview on Radio Mitre, stating in respect to Trump’s win that “We will have to adapt and we will do so with institutional responsibility.”
Macri’s administration had openly supported Clinton during the electoral race, with the president himself declaring his preference for her in an interview with Buzzfeed in August and even speaking at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting.
When asked about Trump in this Buzzfeed interview he responded “I believe in relationships, in networks — we are, in fact, speaking with the world through a network — not in building walls.” He also stated that it “would be hard to work with someone who would want to build walls” but that the relationship between the US and Argentina is strong.
Macri concluded this by noting “I will work a lot with whoever wins the US presidential race.”
The president’s previous concerns about a Trump presidency were shared by much of the Argentine public. According to a survey carried out by Poliarquia Consultores before the election, few Argentines support Trump. In the survey carried out among 1170 people across 40 localities in the country, 72% of the country wanted Clinton to win, and only 6% wanted Trump. The survey also asked which participant they thought would have a more positive impact for Argentina, and whilst an overwhelming 62% said Clinton would, for Trump it was a mere 5%.
Since Macri took office last year, Argentina has moved closer to the US as part of a broader shift in foreign policy, with an emphasis on fostering new trade and investment ties with Washington.
Before the elections took place, Malcorra gave an interview describing Trump as “worrying”. She noted that since the arrival of Macri, the relationship between the US and Argentina had been developing, but worried that if Trump were elected that this relationship “could come to a standstill.”
She had voiced her fears related to the long-term goal to establish a free trade market between Mercosur and the United States, and also highlighted her concern that a Trump win could signal “a domino affect” across other countries to follow his “closed and xenophobic model.”
However, today Malcorra defined Argentina’s biggest concern in relation to Trump’s win as “ensuring that the transition in the agenda is as fast and short as possible to continue the huge number of issues that we have in common with the Obama administration, and sit down with Trump’s team, to see what adjustments they will make.”
When asked today about her support for Clinton throughout the campaign, Malcorra noted that the Argentine government had wanted a continuation of the Democratic Party because “it was of maximum interest for Argentina, from a very utilitarian perspective, according to our priorities and interests.”
Malcorra added that the administration was prepared to deal with the unexpected outcome. “We are already establishing contacts, that we have had during the campaign as well, to ensure that this link flows and is accepted as soon as possible.”
She also stressed the importance of maintaining relations with the US as “we cannot intelligently think of ourselves inserted into the world without a link to the United States. We must make this work for the good of the Argentines.”
The provisional president of the Senate, Federico Pinedo, also expressed through Twitter that although “the changes will be great”, people and democracies “will continue to interact.” He indicated that he wanted “more cooperation and less confrontation” and hoped that across Latin America, “we will work for unity rather than for division, to empower ourselves rather than isolate ourselves.”
Meanwhile, the Argentine Ambassador in China, Diego Guelar, declared today that there is no need to worry, as the US election result “won’t have an important impact in relation to Argentina.” He also affirmed that there would be no direct impact on the exchange rate, and that ultimately the effect of Trump’s win for Argentina is “neutral”.
“With my experience of being two-time ambassador in the US, I can say the real agenda with the North Americans has always been very limited, we do not have an important commercial relationship, and for a long time we have not had large investments.”
Current Argentine Ambassador to the US, Martín Lousteau, who had previously criticised Trump for creating a “reality show campaign”, also argued that the outcome would not greatly affect Argentina’s relationship with Washington.