American Expats Wail, Cheer, Brace for President Trump

Photo: Peray Stephane / Facebook

BANGKOK — Vindicated was how Dayton Kannon felt when he learned Wednesday that Donald Trump had been elected president of the United States.

For months, the social studies teacher said he’d endured the scorn and derision of his colleagues over his support for the anti-establishment candidate who upset expectations to win the White House.

“Many have been so judgmental toward me for voting for Trump. They said, ‘How could you?’ to me, and I replied that I had the right and the freedom to research the pros and cons of each candidate,” said the 43-year-old who voted by mail in Florida.

Read more: US Expats Mail Votes, Bite Nails, Scream At Each Other

One day after Trump’s surprise win, we checked back in with three partisan expats interviewed just before the election to find out how they felt now as citizens of Trump Nation.

Kannon believed people only thought his candidate would lose because the media had been focused on “demonizing Trump” and “bashing him for expressing his opinion.”

The shock felt by Democratic Party supporters of Hillary Clinton, who went into Election Day a shoe-in according to polling data, was not shared by the Republican.

“I wasn’t surprised at all Trump won. I believed that CNN, NBC, and ABC have not been doing responsible reporting, but telling people what to believe even though they don’t have a monopoly on knowledge,” Kannon said.

He said it was “admirable and clever” for Clinton to encourage Americans to accept the result of the election in her concession speech.

“When Obama won, even though I didn’t want him to win, I accepted it because he deserved respect for winning,” the social studies teacher said. “Now there are some people being salty and protesting and not accepting the election results. This is a judgemental, childish, detrimental, and divisive viewpoint.”

Phil Robertson, the 52-year-old head of Democrats Abroad of Thailand

A day after hosting a viewing party at a Bangkok bar that turned into a sob-fest, Phil Robertson expressed his dismay at the choice for his nation’s 45th president.

“Everybody was absolutely astonished, shocked and angry,” said Robertson, who is also the regional director of Human Rights Watch. “At the viewing party yesterday, we were depressed, astonished and frankly shocked. No one anticipated this.”

The Democrat community in Thailand is feeling “a mixture of disgust and dismay that so many Americans voted for someone that is so fundamentally flawed,” he said.

Read: Donald Trump, New President of the United States

Before the vote, Daryl Allen Holst, a 44-year-old science teacher, said he had voted for conservative independent Evan McMullin. On Thursday he stood by his choice.

“I don’t regret it,” Holst said. “I didn’t feel stressed while watching the election because I didn’t like either candidate. But I was still surprised. I thought Clinton would easily win.”

He doesn’t think people should see it as an endorsement of the former reality television star and businessman, who promised to tear up trade deals, build a wall to keep Mexicans out and require allies to pay for protection.

“While people see Trump’s victory as an acceptance of his bad qualities, I see it more as a rejection of Hillary and the establishment. This election also shows that celebrities and the media can’t really influence America’s votes,” Holst said.

As for those saying a third-party vote was a vote for Trump, Holst said many independent candidates represent stances so different from the two main parties that one cannot assume they took votes from one or the other.

“Still, we can put up with anything for four years,” Holst said, releasing a laugh.