Where The Money For Trump’s ‘Election Defense’ Fund Will Really Go

FILE - President Donald Trump sits over documents at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, Jan. 23, 2018.

If a Trump donor gives $500, $300 will go to Trump’s Save America PAC, $200 would to the RNC - and nothing would go to his election defense fund.

Nov 11 (Reuters) - As President Donald Trump seeks to discredit last week’s election with baseless claims of voter fraud, his team has bombarded his supporters with requests for money to help pay for legal challenges to the results: “The Left will try to STEAL this election!” reads one text.

But any small-dollar donations from Trump’s grassroots donors won’t be going to legal expenses at all, according to a Reuters review of the legal language in the solicitations.

A donor would have to give more than $8,000 before any money goes to the “recount account” established to finance election challenges, including recounts and lawsuits over alleged improprieties, the fundraising disclosures show.

The emailed solicitations send supporters to an “Official Election Defense Fund” website that asks them to sign up for recurring donations to “protect the results and keep fighting even after Election Day.”

The fine print makes clear most of the money will go to other priorities.

A large portion of the money goes to “Save America,” a Trump leadership PAC, or political action committee, set up on Monday, and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Under Federal Election Commission rules, both groups have broad leeway in how they can use the funds.

The Trump campaign, the RNC and Trump’s new Save America PAC did not respond to requests for comment.

Leadership PACs such as Save America are often set up by prominent political figures to spend money on other candidates, while also paying for personal expenses, such as travel and hotel stays.

The disclosures would allow Trump and the RNC to channel the donations into other political causes or campaigns, such as the two high-stakes January Senate runoff races in Georgia that could determine control of the Senate and are likely to rank among the most expensive races in U.S. history.

Trump’s solicitation website carries a banner headline that says “OFFICIAL ELECTION DEFENSE FUND” and “CONTRIBUTE NOW.”

Scrolling down the page would take a donor to the fine print, which shows that donations are split between “Save America,” which gets 60% of the money, and the RNC, which gets the other 40%. None of the money flows to Trump’s official”recount” committee fund until Trump’s Save America share reaches the legal contribution limit of $5,000, according to the disclosures.

That means that, before a dollar goes into the recount fund,Save America would receive $5,000 and the RNC around $3,300. Donations to the recount committee are legally limited to $2,800.

If a Trump donor gave $500, for instance, $300 would go to Trump’s Save America PAC, $200 would to the RNC - and nothing would go to his election defense fund.

One Republican political strategist said Trump is misleadingsupporters who might give small donations to whatever cause heapproves.

“It’s important to be up front with people - especiallythose who are digging deep into their pockets to come up with$25,” said Michael DuHaime, a former political director at theRNC. “If you tell them it’s going for legal fees, well then itshould go for legal fees.”

Darrell Scott, an Ohio pastor who helped found the NationalDiversity Coalition for Trump and served on the president’s 2016transition team, says he sees no problems with diverting themoney to the leadership PAC or the RNC.

“I see this as two pockets on the same pair of pants. Itdoesn’t matter if it goes into the left or the right pocket,“Scott said. “In the end, the money will be used for a legitimatepurpose that his supporters will get behind.”

FLURRY OF LAWSUITS

The fundraising pitches have channeled Trump’s rage and hisrefusal to accept the results of an election that major mediaoutlets called on Saturday for his Democratic opponent JoeBiden, the former Vice President. Most of the Republican Partyhas fallen in line with Trump’s rhetoric, either by stayingsilent or publicly supporting the election challenges.

Trump’s campaign has filed a flurry of lawsuits to overturnthe results in key states without producing evidence to back hischarges of illegal voting. Trump’s lawsuits have insteadgenerally alleged violations of process, such as a lack ofaccess for Republican observers. Legal experts said none of thecases were broad enough to invalidate the number of votesrequired to overturn Biden’s presumed victory.

Judges have quickly dismissed many of the lawsuits. Stateelection officials, including Republicans, have said there wasno widespread fraud.

As the president fights what Democrats have called hisinevitable ouster from the White House, his fundraising campaignseeks to replenish campaign coffers that were depleted duringthe presidential race, according to Federal Election Commissiondata.

Trump’s re-election team kicked off 2020 with an impressivecash advantage, thanks to a massive fundraising operation,including joint efforts with the Republican Party. But theadvantage evaporated as Trump’s campaign burned through $1.4billion of the $1.6 billion raised over the past two years.

By mid-October, the Trump campaign and the Republican Partyreelection team were left with $223.5 million and had to scaleback advertising. The Trump campaign itself only had $43 millionentering the final three weeks of the presidential election,while Biden and the Democrats had $432 million in cash for thefinal stretch, including $177.3 million in Biden’s campaign.

‘LAVISH LIFESTYLES’

Trump’s post-election fundraising emails - sometimes issuedhourly over the last several days - used names such as theElection Defense Task Force and the Official Election DefenseFund. Initially, the disclosures said that Trump would steer alarge part of the contributions to pay down campaign debt.

But the disclosure language changed after Trump’s campaigntreasurer, Bradley Crate, incorporated the Save Americapolitical action committee on Monday. Crate did not reply torequests for comment.

Unlike campaign funds, which have tight controls on how theycan be spent, leadership PACs such as Save America carry fewrestrictions. Republicans and Democrats alike have drawncriticism for using them to pay family members and to fundluxury events in exotic locations. A 2018 report by the CampaignLegal Center and Issue One, two groups that advocate campaignfinance reform, said some leadership PACs have been used asvehicles to “subsidize lavish lifestyles” of politicians “ontheir donors’ dimes.”

Larry Noble, former general counsel at the Federal ElectionCommission, said Trump could use the committee to finance apost-election political career. He said the pitch is misleadingfor donors who don’t read the fine print.

“He’s really making a big deal about the challenge to theelection, and that may very well be why a lot of people may givewithout paying attention to, or understanding, what thepolitical language is,” Noble said. “It’s pretty dangerous toour democracy to use attacking our elections as a fundraisingtool.”

The North Carolina Republican Party has launched a similarstrategy, using the election challenges as a way to raise moneyfor other purposes. In several mass emails to potential donorsthis week, the party says - alongside images of Trump - that itis seeking money to help protect the integrity of the elections.

The legal disclosures, however, show the money is going toan account to pay for the party’s overhead costs and notdirectly to any challenges of this presidential election. Trumpwon North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes.

“They should be more transparent,” said one prominent NorthCarolina Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Ifthey are soliciting money to help with a legal challenge, andinstead the money is going to pay the salary of the politicaldirector, that doesn’t seem right.”

Tim Wigginton, a spokesman for the North Carolina RepublicanParty, said in a statement that the party wants to “ensure everylegal ballot is counted” but did not address questions aboutwhether the fundraising appeals are misleading or why thedonations are not being directed to legal defense.(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Joe Tanfani; additionalreporting by Tom Hals and Tim Reid; editing by Brian Thevenot)


Fox News pulls plug on WH spokeswoman's claims of fraud

Kayleigh McEnany

Moments into a Trump campaign press conference on Monday afternoon at which White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany charged that Democrats were “welcoming fraud” and “illegal voting,” Fox News Host Neil Cavuto had seen enough.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, I just think we have to be very clear. She’s charging the other side is welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting,” Cavuto said, interrupting the video feed of the briefing, which McEnany said she was conducting in her “personal capacity” rather than in her official White House role. “Unless she has more details to back that up I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this. I want to make sure that maybe they do have something to back that up, but that’s an explosive charge to make — that the other side is effectively rigging and cheating.”

McEnany repeated claims by other campaign surrogates since the election to explain why Trump had not conceded his loss to Joe Biden, who has won 290 Electoral College votes to 214 for the president, according to the Associated Press, with three states too close to call. She alleged Pennsylvania election officials kept observers from the Trump campaign too far away to accurately view the counting of ballots, and attacked the state’s Supreme Court and Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State for alleged bias against Trump.

With 99 percent of the ballots counted in Pennsylvania, Biden leads Trump by more than 45,000 votes. The Associated Press called the state for Biden on Saturday, putting him over the 270 electoral votes necessary to be elected president. But Trump has refused to concede defeat and his campaign has launched multiple lawsuits in Pennsylvania and in other swing states in the hopes of overturning the results there.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who spoke after McEnany, alleged multiple improprieties in the state of Michigan, but also declined to provide specific details to reporters.

“Wayne County Republican poll watchers were denied their legal right to monitor the election and purposefully kept in the dark,” McDaniel said. “Election officials blocked windows and padlocked doors.”

“There are thousands of reports of poll watchers being intimidated and unable to do their job and as of 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, 131 affidavits have been completed just in Michigan,” McDaniel said, without explaining their significance. She mentioned a Michigan election official who, she said, came to work in a Biden t-shirt.

Pressed by reporters whether she had evidence that fraudulent votes were cast in the election, McEnany said, “Look, what we are asking for here is patience.”

So far, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have signaled their approval of the Trump campaign’s legal strategy to overturn the election results.

“President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday. “Let’s not have any lectures about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election.”

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton conceded the 2016 election to Donald Trump the morning after the voting, although she won the popular vote by more than two million votes, and the Obama administration began cooperating on a transition, which the Trump White House has refused to do.

McConnell met with Attorney General William Barr on Monday afternoon, and a few hours later the Associated Press reported that Barr had authorized the Justice Department to look into “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities.

With two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia to be decided in a Jan. 5 runoff election, McConnell is believed to be trying to keep Republicans in the state motivated to vote.

Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, whose seats are in danger, issued their own statement on Monday calling for Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign.

Raffensperger, a Republican, said he was not resigning.

Not everyone in the GOP is intent on alleging that fraud explains Republican losses in Georgia and nationwide. Some, like Sen. Susan Collins, who won reelection, are content to offer President-elect Biden their congratulations.

Other Fox News broadcasters, although not the prime-time commentators and morning hosts, have also been skeptical of Trump’s claims, although not as outspoken as Cavuto. The tweet below shows what is believed to be an internal Fox News feed that was leaked to the public; the anchor, Sandra Smith, on the left side of the screen was reacting in the studio but apparently not actually on the air.


DOJ's election crimes chief resigns after Barr directs prosecutors to probe voter fraud claims

President Trump and William Barr in 2019.

The head of the branch of the Justice Department that prosecutes election crimes resigned Monday hours after Attorney General William Barr issued a memo to federal prosecutors to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified.

Richard Pilger, who was director of the Election Crimes Branch of the DOJ, sent a memo to colleagues that suggested his resignation was linked to Barr’s memo, which was issued as the president’s legal team mount baseless legal challenges to the election results, alleging widespread voter fraud cost him the race.

“Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications, and in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism (my most cherished Departmental recognition), I must regretfully resign from my role as Director of the Election Crimes Branch,” Pilger’s letter said, according to a copy obtained by NBC News.

“I have enjoyed very much working with you for over a decade to aggressively and diligently enforce federal criminal election law, policy, and practice without partisan fear or favor. I thank you for your support in that effort.”

That's a change of Justice Department policy, which had previously advised prosecutors that "overt investigative steps ordinarily should not be taken until the election in question has been concluded, its results certified, and all recounts and election contests concluded."

Barr, who's come under fire by right-wing media for not bolstering the president's evidence-free claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, declared that guidance outdated.

"Such a passive and delayed enforcement approach can result in situations in which election misconduct cannot realistically be rectified," Barr said in the memo.

NBC News and several other major media outlets projected Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday after several states spent days counting ballots following a record turnout, including mail-in and absentee voting. Trump has refused to concede to President-elect Biden and one of his appointees in the General Services Administration has yet to sign paperwork to begin the presidential transition.

Barr was not asked or directed by the president, any lawmaker, or anyone in the White House to issue this memo to federal prosecutors, according to a Department of Justice senior official. Barr, however, met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., earlier Monday. McConnell defended the president earlier Monday on the Senate floor, arguing he has a right to pursue recounts and lawsuits in court.

Barr did not respond to questions when he left McConnell’s office and a DOJ spokesperson has declined to comment on what the two men discussed.

A DOJ official told NBC News that the memo from Barr does not allege that there are substantial irregularities in the election. It authorizes local U.S. attorneys to investigate if they learn “clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State.”

It added, "While serious allegations should be handled with great care, specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries. Nothing here should be taken as an indication that the Department has concluded that voting irregularities have impacted the outcome of any election."

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What Biden presidency could bring for higher education

President-elect has vowed to spend much more. The vice president-elect is an HBCU graduate and supporter. The next first lady is a community college instructor.

Joe Biden’s apparent election as president could pave the way for a dramatic shift in higher education policies, possibly making tuition free for many seeking a college education and wiping away the debt of millions of people paying back student loans.

Biden’s victory is also significant in its symbolism for higher education. Kamala Harris will be the nation’s first African American and Asian American vice president and, as a Howard University alumna, the first graduate of a historically Black university in the White House.The first lady will be Jill Biden, who until recently taught at a community college.

There will also be a shift on Inauguration Day away from a Trump administration that has criticized universities that admit to their past racism, replaced by a vice president who has been using the same auditorium at Howard University where she had her freshman orientation as her campaign headquarters.

Expected to be gone, too, is a Trump administration policy on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that women’s advocates have warned would discourage victims of sexual assault and harassment on campuses from coming forward.

And an estimated 450,000 college students who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children are likely to no longer live under the threat of being deported and are likely to be breathing more freely in relief.

But likely experiencing angst are for-profit colleges, who are expected to face much tougher scrutiny and the return of Obama administration regulations that were wiped away by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Likely ecstatic are officials at community colleges. Not only is Jill Biden, a former professor at North Virginia Community College, married to the president-elect, but Joe Biden has promised to make community colleges free, provide additional funding to help more students graduate and provide incentives to states to provide wraparound service, particularly for veterans, single parents, low-income students and students of color.

"Dr. Biden has been a positive force for community colleges by helping people understand better some of the essential work we do. Certainly it would be good to have someone who understands that in the White House," said David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and policy analysis for the American Association of Community Colleges.

"President-elect Biden has promised to make human capital investment a central part of his agenda and this will have widespread implications for higher education. Higher education institutions and student will welcome these efforts," said Terry Hartle, the American Council on Education’s senior vice president for government relations and a top lobbyist for colleges and universities. "Some of his ideas, like doubling Pell Grants, are easily implemented and will enjoy universal popularity. Others -- like the free college proposal -- will be politically controversial and very complicated to design. Yet others -- like large-scale student loan forgiveness -- are potentially quite expensive.

"But we’ll be looking at a once-in-a-generation effort to invest in America’s students and workers," he said.

With it appearing that control of the Senate will be to be decided by two runoff electons in Georgia next month, though, how much of Biden’s higher education agenda will come to pass remains to be seen, Hartle said..

"If the Republicans keep control, it will make it far harder for the Biden administration to advance successfully some of their major legislative initiatives like free college," Hartle said. "They will certainly advance these ideas, but whether they can get them enacted is a far more difficult task if the Republicans control the upper chamber." 

Even if Democrats are able to win both runoff races, there will likely be tension between the moderate and liberal wings of the party over how far to go on proposals like making not only community colleges, but public four-year institutions and HBCUs free -- an idea that could cost more than $1 trillion.

Most immediately the administration will have to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Biden has said he will immediately begin work on a package to sign when he takes office in January, which could bring relief to colleges and universities through additional direct aid to institutions as well as federal help to states to soften cuts to higher education.

Biden's election gave Hartle hope that more help is coming, though control of Congress will be critical. "A Biden administration -- especially if it controls the Senate -- will move decisively to address these challenges. But the president-elect won’t take office for another 10 weeks and we need action now, in the lame-duck Congress," he said.

Up in the air is who Biden will tap as the next education secretary, but whoever it is, higher education advocates are likely to see the choice as an improvement over DeVos, whom they have criticized for rolling back regulations on for-profits, as well as actions like unilaterally refusing to give undocumented students any of the aid Congress set aside in the CARES Act for college students struggling financially during the pandemic.

Higher education, however, not only took a back seat, but was buried under the luggage somewhere in the trunk during a campaign that focused on the adequacy of Trump’s response to the pandemic and the polar-opposite demeanors of the candidates.

It’s unclear where higher education fits in a laundry list of issues facing the administration trying to deal with a public health crisis and a struggling economy.

Lobbyists, however, say there could be a place for higher education in a mammoth economic stimulus plan, like the more than $800 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act the Obama administration created to pull the nation out of the Great Recession.

A major emphasis for the administration is expected to be to reduce the cost of going to college, which includes canceling the debt graduates have been crippled with for decades as college tuition has risen.

And Debbie Cochrane, executive vice president of the left-leaning Institute for College Access and Success, said Biden's election couldn't come at a more critical time. "The Biden administration’s plans to bring college costs within reach and hold for-profit colleges accountable couldn’t be more urgently needed than they are right now," she said. "Coming on the heels of widespread federal higher education deregulation [of for-profits], the sudden onset of the pandemic has put students at heightened risk of leaving school with unaffordable debt. The incoming administration will need to act quickly to ensure that students are able to pay for college, even in a recession, and to curb the types of abuses we’ve seen in prior economic downturns."

In addition to making community colleges and HBCUs free, Biden has said he will eliminate tuition at public colleges and universities for those making $125,000 or less.

Biden has pledged to double the maximum amount of Pell Grants, which as a “first dollar” program would help pay the living expenses of students.

However, it remains to be seen if Congress will approve what the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania estimates to be the $1.38 trillion cost over the next decade of eliminating tuition. In addition, Biden’s plan for eliminating tuition calls for state governments to pick up a third of the cost at a time when states are slashing budgets. Advocates have said the federal government might have to shoulder even more of the cost at the beginning.

Biden would also eliminate $10,000 from all borrowers’ student debt during the pandemic. Then, for those making $125,000 or less, he would forgive debt accumulated to pay tuition, though not loans for living expenses. The Wall Street Journal estimates the plan, which also calls for fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, would cost another $1 trillion.

While Senate Democrats proposed widespread debt forgiveness in their proposals for more coronavirus relief, House Democrats have limited debt cancellation in their plan to only those under economic distress. Democratic Senate candidates running in swing states stayed away from talking about the proposal.

More certain is that the administration will bring back Obama-era regulations, particularly for for-profits. DeVos had reversed rules that made it easier for borrowers who had been misled by their colleges on the value of their degrees to have their debt forgiven, as well as rules that would bar mainly for-profit colleges whose graduates do not find jobs that pay well enough to be able to repay their student debt from being able to receive student aid dollars. Now the borrower-defense and gainful-employment rules are expected to come back.

Remaining to be seen is how aggressive a Biden Education Department will be. But progressive groups like the National Student Defense Network, led by top Education Department lawyers on higher education issues under the Obama administration, and progressive Democratic senators like Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren, have pushed the department to use its powers under the law to take steps like holding the owners of for-profits personally financially responsible for costs to the federal government like forgiving the debt of students defrauded by their institutions.

In addition, Biden has promised to significantly increase spending on research, a proposal that has been hailed by the president of the American Association of Universities. The nation's scientists who marched to protest a president's skepticism about science, over climate change and now the pandemic, will have a president who believes in research, as Biden has said many times that he will listen to scientists.

It’s far too early to know to whom a Biden administration is likely to turn for crafting his higher education policy. But given the stance of many left-leaning think tanks and policy groups, it’s likely that whoever he listens to will embrace some of the views of the last Democratic administration in which Biden played a central role.

Unlike President Trump, President Obama embraced the idea that postsecondary education is a must for individuals and essential for the country’s economic and societal well-being, and he invested heavily in it, to give students the means and opportunity to get postsecondary education or training.

But having accepted higher education as crucial, the Obama administration also pushed hard to improve its efficacy, from the belief that something so valuable should deliver on its promises. That belief led him to push hard on accountability measures that alienated many leaders of nonprofit colleges, and led college presidents in a 2016 Inside Higher Ed survey to give the Obama administration poor grades in assessing its impact on higher education. 

Despite Trump’s questionable claims of having saved HBCUs, a Biden administration could also bring more aid to Black colleges, including investing $10 billion to improve enrollment, retention, completion and employment rates at minority-serving institutions. As he promised, he would spend billions more to improve research at HBCUs, and after HBCUs complained about being left out of government contracts, he would require federal agencies to explain and fix any disparities in federal dollars going to HBCUs or minority-serving institutions versus other kinds of colleges.

But beyond those policy changes, the vice president will be a Black woman who graduated from Howard University, a historically Black institution.

Speaking at Spelman College last month, Harris spoke of the importance of HBCUs for Black students, who have grown up under a racist belief that they will not succeed.

“When you leave that place, you will know how great you are and that you come from a great people and greatness is expected of you,” she said. “And our job is to fulfill that mission.”

Harris’s election will bring immense pride to HBCUs.

“What she has done is not only good for Howard but the Black community,” Howard University president Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a ceremony at the institution Tuesday morning congratulating Harris, win or lose, for being at the precipice of becoming vice president. “She has shown that Howard graduates are a force to be reckoned with, and she has demonstrated that those who have made their way to the mecca, to have successfully traversed the hilltop, can make it anywhere in the world. And she has shown that in all parts of society we belong and we deserve a seat at the table.”

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'A Big And Special Moment': The World Celebrates Joe Biden's Win

President-elect Joe Biden’s projected victory on Saturday drew cheers ― and sighs of relief ― from an international community exhausted by four years of President Donald Trump’s bullying, incoherent, transactional and largely ineffective approach to foreign policy. 

As fireworks went off and people cheered in the streets in London, the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, called the win “well-deserved” on Twitter. “It’s time to get back to building bridges, not walls,” Khan wrote.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon praised future Vice President Kamala Harris’ historic ascendance: “The first woman in the White House ― and the first woman of colour too. This is a big and special moment.”

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Elisa Ferreira, the top European Union official from Portugal, declared that she was listening to Nina Simone’s classic “Feeling Good.”

And more diplomatically, high-ranking foreign leaders welcomed the prospect of a very different kind of U.S. partner.

“Congratulations, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted. “Our two countries are close friends, partners, and allies. We share a relationship that’s unique on the world stage. I’m really looking forward to working together and building on that with you both.”

America’s image abroad plummeted under Trump. A Pew Research Center survey released in September showed that the percentage of people in several countries who viewed the U.S. favorably had reached its lowest point in Pew’s nearly 20 years of asking foreigners their opinion of the U.S. In Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Australia ― all longtime allies ― only a minority of people saw the U.S. positively. Trump’s catastrophic approach to the coronavirus pandemic, which continued to kill hundreds of Americans daily as most other nations slashed their infection and fatality rates, further hurt the perception of the U.S.

For many international observers, the top concern was ultimately not whether Biden would defeat Trump, but whether democracy in America remained alive and well after a long election season during which Trump attacked the integrity of the voting process and repeatedly suggested he did not want all ballots to be counted. Trump’s dishonest, premature claim of victory on Wednesday morning won almost no support abroad, as international officials instead expressed faith in U.S. institutions and their respect for the voters’ choice.

Of course, Biden’s projected victory doesn’t mean Trump will stand down. His campaign has filed suit in multiple swing states and is arguing that various vote counts are illegitimate. 

Still, the numbers in Biden’s favor allowed most onlookers in other nations to largely relax.

While decision-makers in international capitals know they won’t agree with Biden on everything, many are simply relieved to know that soon they need no longer live in fear of a sudden flip-flop by Trump on a crucial issue like U.S. troop deployments or of Trump’s personal animus toward his counterparts guiding U.S. strategy, as it did in his handling of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trudeau

The president-elect’s expertise on foreign policy, drawn from his time as vice president and as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is also appealing to such officials, who believe he will be better equipped to understand complicated issues that Trump often minimized or misrepresented and less likely than the incumbent to fall for conspiracy theories or liesfromadversaries. And they welcome Biden’s promises to strengthen U.S. relationships with historic allies and ensure American policies better reflect the country’s stated commitment to human rights and democratic principles.

Some political figures and citizens in nations that benefited under Trump signaled their disappointment before Biden’s victory.

Ayoob Kara, a former minister in the hard-right government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, criticized American Jews, the clear majority of whom voted for Biden as they have for Democrats for years, despite Republican attempts to smear the other party as anti-Semitic.

“I was expectings [sic] they will support President Trump who is the best American president for the State of Israel has had,” Kara tweeted on Thursday. “The ‘betrayal’ of longtime American Jews.” 

In the United Arab Emirates, an autocratic state that has grown close to the White House and recently secured a long-sought major arms deal, prominent Twitter user Hassan Sajwani retweeted a commentator alleging that the U.S. election had been rigged and another Twitter user attacking the platform for its warnings about Trump’s dishonest tweets. 

And in Hungary, the far-right Volner Party announced that it would organize a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest to challenge “possible electoral fraud in the U.S. presidential election” and demonstrate “solidarity with Donald Trump.” 

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Those reactions were the exception to the general rule, however. 

“Welcome back America!” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted on Saturday, noting that the win comes around the five-year anniversary of the sweeping international climate agreement signed in her city that Trump officially pulled the U.S. out of just days ago. Biden has promised to rejoin the deal immediately ― and to do even more to confront the climate crisis. 

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