The 2016 presidential election has been a real circus so far, the race completely taking over the media within the past year. Any time you turn on the news there are a seemingly endless number of updates on how the candidates are preparing (or not preparing) for the next debate, or leaked information involving yet another scandal. Americans are increasingly becoming more and more polarized in their views even though the election is a few weeks away, but what about spectators abroad?
With many parts of the world in a complicated relationship with the U.S, many fear the implications of a Trump or Clinton presidency, namely Middle Eastern countries. Between Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims coming into the U.S and his broad statements without actual plans, Middle Eastern countries have been put on edge by the possibility that this delusional Republican candidate could be the Commander in Chief of an international superpower. But on the other hand, Hillary Clinton has not exactly been a shining ally of the Middle East, given her vote to invade Iraq back in 2003 amongst other questionable decisions. So, what are Arab leaders saying about this American election? Here are the top comments we found:
United Arab Emirates
Khalaf Al-Habtoor, a highly successful businessman from Dubai, wrote an article titled “Why I’m backing The Donald’s bid to be president” back in August of 2015, praising Trump as a refreshing candidate America needs. According to him, the reason why America has fallen behind in its economy and foreign policy is due to “flowery speeches, intellectual theories and empty promises” made by previous administrations. He believed that the government has been all talk and no action in recent years, but Donald Trump presented himself as a “doer.” Sure he’s not exactly the most articulate person, but at least he’s genuinely passionate about America and not trying to please lobbyists and interest groups.
However, months later when Trump called for the immediate shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S, Al-Habtoor retracted his statement, telling NBC, “I had to admit I made a mistake in my supporting Mr. Trump.” He now believes that if Trump were elected president, it could mean disaster not only for America, but for the whole world.
Donald Trump is known to put his name on everything, from buildings to golf courses to yachts. His developments can not only be found in America, but all over the world, and the Middle East is no exception. The GM of Trump Towers’ in Istanbul, Bulent Kural, said he “regrets and condemns” Trump’s anti-Muslim policies. “We are assessing the legal dimension of our relationship with the Trump brand,” a statement from Kural said.
Saudi prince and businessman HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who had done business with Trump in the 90s, called the Republican candidate a “disgrace to America” on twitter:
To which Mr. Trump responded:
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme leader of Iran, has publicly condemned both presidential candidates. He claims that the U.S is in a state of decline, and this election is a testament to that decline. Although the Iranian government isn’t exactly a shining example of democracy, Khamenei felt it appropriate to say that both Clinton and Trump “are proof of the destruction of human values in the United States.”
By: Malek ElSayyid