What started as American lawmakers’ bipartisan denunciation of the Capitol Hill riot, and Donald Trump’s role in stoking it, quickly grew to include condemnation from many U.S. allies: World leaders as far afield as Britain, Canada, and India voiced distress and alarm at the vandalism taking place at the seat of U.S. democracy, as did officials from the European Union and NATO.
Before long, even some of Trump’s most vocal supporters abroad began joining the chorus: Nigel Farage, the British politician and longtime Trump ally, tweeted that “storming Capitol Hill”—as Trump had all but encouraged his supporters to do—“is wrong.” Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League party, said that “violence is never the solution, never.” Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician known as the “Dutch Trump,” reacted to the live coverage by stressing that “the outcome of democratic elections should always be respected, whether you win or lose.”
Where have Trump’s friends gone? For years, populists and nationalists around the world have looked to the president as something of a global champion—a leader who not only spoke their nativist, iconoclastic language, but proved that the populist political project each of them was attempting in their own country was possible. If it can happen in America, one of the greatest democracies on Earth, they surmised, it can happen here too.