- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2017

There were protests in London, Tokyo and Manila. There were celebrations in Moscow, and expressions of anger, joy and congratulations on social media across the world.

President Donald J. Trump’s inaugural address, in which he warned “every city in every foreign capital” to heed the message that “from this day forward, it’s going to be only America first,” triggered a range of reactions among international observers Friday.

Some of the most sober came from Germany, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel has traded barbs with Mr. Trump in recent days over his criticisms of NATO and her open-door embrace of Syrian refugees.

“We have to prepare for a rough ride,” Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said in the first official German reaction to Mr. Trump’s first speech as the new U.S. president.

Mr. Trump’s election was the result of “a bad radicalization,” Mr. Gabriel said in an interview with the German public broadcaster ZDF, according to Reuters. He also warned that Germany will need a new economic strategy geared toward Asia should the Trump administration start a trade war with China.

There was little reaction Friday from China, itself, amid reports that Chinese government censors had ordered media outlets in the nation not to carry any live streaming or visual coverage of Mr. Trump’s speech.

Chinese news outlets, according to the Financial Times, were also ordered to publish only central state media coverage of the U.S. inaugural proceedings while the Communist party weighed first official response to the Trump presidency.

Mr. Trump, who has railed against Beijing on the campaign trail — asserting that the U.S. cannot “continue to allow China to rape our country” — did not reference the nation by name during his inaugural address.

He instead offered a broad-stroke lament on the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to foreign lands.

“For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry,” the president said. “[We’ve] spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

“One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind,” Mr. Trump said. “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.

“But that is the past,” he said. “And now, we are looking only to the future.”

The speech drew quick praise from some nationalist and protectionist politicians in Europe.

“A very strong speech by @POTUS. He means it,” tweeted the anti-European Union British politician Nigel Farage.

“Great speech,” added the anti-immigrant Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Far-right French politician Marine Le Pen had praised Mr. Trump on Twitter before he took the stage Friday. And hours before the inauguration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent out his own warm message on Twitter, saying, “Congrats to my friend President Trump. Look forward to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel&USA stronger than ever.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also considered a nationalist, tweeted that he’s “looking forward to working with” President Trump to “deepen India-US ties & realise the full potential of our cooperation.”

Political elites in Russia reveled on Thursday night, gathering for large parties in Moscow and other cities in Russia. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Facebook that while Mr. Trump’s policy toward the nation is not yet clear, “we are hoping that reason will prevail” and “we are ready to do our share of the work in order to improve the relationship.”

Pope Francis, meanwhile, issued a statement calling on Mr. Trump to uphold “ethical values” and to not forget America’s ability to help the world’s poor. “Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need,” the pope said.

CNN reported that there was little love for Mr. Trump at the Grand Mosalla, a complex of religious halls and other facilities in Tehran, as people gathered for their usual fiery Friday prayers.

“It makes no difference which president is in power,” a young man wearing a scarf depicting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the network. “Whoever is in power will have that same outlook on Iran, which is a pity.”

And then there was the anger on social media, where some international observers slammed Mr. Trump.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox was perhaps most harsh.

“Today we turn into an era of uncertainty. If Donald the Unready doesn’t learn to behave, the rest of the world needs to come together,” Mr. Fox tweeted. “Speaking of allegiance, Trump? Speaking of greatness? Speaking of success? America was already great and successful, then you happened!”

Anti-Trump protests were held outside the U.S. Embassy in London, as well as in other European cities, including Berlin, where activists with the Netherlands-based Greenpeace organization held signs with the message: “Mr. President, walls divide. Build Bridges!”

Reuters reported that several hundred people, most of them expatriate Americans, held a protest against Mr. Trump Friday in the Japanese capital of Tokyo hours before he took the stage in Washington.

Some people held up electric candles and others carried placards reading “Love Trumps Hate” and “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights,” as they marched along a downtown street.

In the Philippines, about 200 demonstrators from a nationalist group rallied for about an hour against Trump outside the U.S. embassy in Manila, Reuters said.

Some held up signs demanding U.S. troops leave the Philippines while others set fire to a paper U.S. flag bearing a picture of Trump’s face.

• Guy Taylor can be reached at gtaylor@washingtontimes.com.

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