When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States in 2015, very few expected him to win. Arguably the most popular statistical analysis website in the country, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, wrote when Trump announced his candidacy that his chances of winning the Republican nomination are about as high as his chances of playing in the NBA finals.
A little more than a year later, the world watched Trump’s inaugural address. His upset victory took many by surprise, including diplomats from Europe, Asia, and Africa.
According to a new report from Politico, foreign diplomats in Washington would not be surprised by Trump winning a second term. On the contrary, the report — based on confidential conversations with around 20 foreign diplomats, analysts, and officials — states that foreign officials are “quietly preparing for and predicting” a Trump victory.
Driving their predictions are three key advantages they believe Trump has: The Democratic Party has no front-runner, Trump is the incumbent, and the economy is good.
“The way it looks to people is it’s going to be another four years,” an Arab diplomat said, expressing concern about international relations in the next four years.
“If he gets reelected, he’s bound by nothing, except Congress. And I don’t know how that’s going to play out,” the diplomat added.
According to an Asian diplomat, all embassies in Washington are working “on the basis that the president has more than an even chance at being re-elected.”
With campaign season practically around the corner, some embassies are deliberately not making moves, waiting for the situation to play itself out.
According to another foreign diplomat, the general consensus is that Trump will grow increasingly uninterested in foreign relations as the campaign heats up, and focus on winning re-election.
“But Trump is very hard to predict! We are always very surprised,” the diplomat noted.
Analysis: Even amid recession warning, 2020 will hinge on the culture war https://t.co/ZHkJtHjATW— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 15, 2019
Some governments believe they would benefit from Trump winning a second term, however. Israel, Poland, Hungary, and Saudi Arabia would all be pleased with Trump winning again, according to Politico, given that the administration has cultivated ties with all four countries.
According to a European ambassador, some on the old continent would prefer that Trump stays in the White House.
“For governments who want regulations changed, they might have a better chance now than with another administration,” the ambassador explained.
Some foreign officials believe that a number of trends will persist, whether Trump wins or not, given that some top Democratic candidates have signaled a disdain for international free trade agreements. Notably, both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have insisted that trade needs to be “fair,” and not free.
“In his campaign and his presidency, he’s just responding to what the American public feels,” a European diplomat said of Trump.