President Elect Trump strikes the right healing tone

Morning View
Morning View

After one of the most bruising American elections in modern history, Donald Trump was yesterday elected the 45th president of the United States.

The result shocked the world, and indeed much of America, but was followed quickly by a very important development when Mr Trump gave a notably magnanimous acceptance speech. Hours later, this was followed by a dignified concession speech by Hillary Clinton, and then a conciliatory speech by President Barack Obama.

It would have been a disastrous escalation of the tensions and grief of this election if any one of those three protagonists had delivered a bitter or aggressive speech.

Mr Trump’s tone was all the more striking given some of the highly irresponsible things that he had repeatedly said during the campaign about the electoral system being rigged.

If Mr Trump can maintain that tone and govern with the success he has achieved in business dealings, his presidency could be constructive and successful.

Donald J Trump now has a clear mandate as president, having decisively won the electoral college. But he presides over a country so divided it gave Mrs Clinton a slightly higher share of votes cast. These are fraught times for a great nation.

Ulster has had intimate links with the United States since a century before its foundation in 1776, and provided some of its founding fathers. Mr Trump has shown nothing but warmth for Britain and Ireland, so this Province can try to build on that, as Arlene Foster suggests today on these pages. The Clintons also have been friends of Northern Ireland, and helped edge the Democrats away from a tendency to be pro Irish nationalism, so Mrs Clinton has our gratitude.

On Tuesday, Americans defied pundits as Britons did with Brexit. The motivations in both cases were varied, but traditional patriotism and concern at immigration were high among them – and rightly so. Now is time for measured implementation of those verdicts.