NZ's American community watch Trump win election - red, white ... and blue

By Gia Garrick, Melissa Nightingale, Brittany Keogh

Democrat supporter Amanda Richards is feeling low as the results come in. Photo / Melissa Nightingale
Democrat supporter Amanda Richards is feeling low as the results come in. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

Americans across the country are in mourning after Donald Trump won the US Presidenccy.

Keegan Jayes, duty manager at The Fox Sporting Bar & Restaurant, at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour, where the Democrats Abroad Auckland chapter gathered today, said most Americans had left before the announcement, but those who remained appeared distraught.

"There's quite a few people crying. I cannot see anyone celebrating at all. Everyone's a bit confused.

"[When it was announced] there were quite a few girls who burst into tears. It's been quite a dramatic day."

Meanwhile in Wellington, a patron at JJ Murphy's pub exclaimed: "Are you f***ing sh**ting me?" at news Clinton has called Trump to concede.

New Zealand-based Americans turned out in force around the country to watch today's United States presidential elections - but the results were not what some expected.

Hundreds of people gathered at American-themed bars that are decked out in red, white and blue balloons, cardboard cut outs and large screened televisions.

State of shock after Trump declared new President of the US

People were swearing at the TV screen during the Democrats Abroad election party at JJ Murphy's pub on Cuba St, Wellington, as Donald Trump was announced as President-elect.

"It's literally the end of the world," someone was heard exclaiming at the bar.

With Hillary Clinton having called Trump to concede, Democrats Abroad chairwoman Kat Allikian was "in a state of shock".

"I thought the polls had been so overwhelmingly in Clinton's favour that even if they weren't entirely accurate that they would be reflective enough to result in her election.

"I hope the world survives the next four years of a Trump presidency."

Allikian said the win felt "surreal".

"It's not anything that Democrats or likely many Republicans ever expected when they woke up this morning.

"I have to have faith in the American system of government which has three branches put in place for the checks and balances that we need in a case like this."

The atmosphere among those still remaining is sombre and disdainful, with many people yelling or swearing during Trump's victory speech.

'I thought the US was better than this'

Earlier, Amanda Richards and others at her table at JJ Murphy's pub were in tears as the latest results roll in.

"I'm really disappointed. I thought the US was better than this," she said after the announcement of Donald Trump's win in Florida.

"I'm really concerned about the implications if Donald Trump wins the presidency, for climate change, race relations in America... "

Richards is from Louisiana but has lived in New Zealand for more than seven years.

"I'm not surprised that some people in America are voting for Trump, it's not foreign to me."

Richards said she was not mentally or emotionally prepared for Trump to win.

Her tears began around the time Trump's win in North Carolina was announced and had continued since.

Others who sat around her table were glum, with tear-filled eyes.

Yells erupted as Trump's lead in Pennsylvania was noted.

Democrats celebrated the small victories: a scattering of cheers broke out and one woman punched her fist into the air at news Clinton was in the lead for New Hampshire.

Then boos and a high-pitched shriek of "what?!" as Trump catches up to Clinton for New Hampshire.

The applause and screams were deafening in JJ Murphy's pub as Clinton's win in Nevada was announced.

A comment on TV that Trump would be "a voice for all the people" brought on a wave of angry yells, with one woman gesturing with two fingers at the TV screen and another yelling "What are you smoking lady?"

The crowd at the Democrat election party in Wellington is beginning to thin despite final results not yet being in.

One woman sobbed as Trump was declared the winner of Alaska.

Amanda Richards anxiously watches the results come in. Photo / Melissa Nightingale
Amanda Richards anxiously watches the results come in. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

'Not panicking yet'

About 100 people had gathered at JJ Murphy's pub for the election party.

Balloons are strung across the room and all eyes are glued to the makeshift big screen. Every time Clinton takes a win cheers erupted in the bar.

Despite promises of a special guest appearance as planned - a Trump pinata didn't arrive in the mail in time for the event.

Democrats Abroad secretary Christine Valverde said the prospect Trump could win was "frightening" - but she was "not panicking yet".

"The way that the numbers are going, if you look at the percentages, the rural areas tend to get counted faster," she said.

Cheers and applause broke out in the pub when Clinton's win over Trump in Virginia showed up on the projector.

Cries of "No!" and "Boo!" Accompanied news of Trump winning Florida. There is a subdued atmosphere among those watching the screen.

"That's expected, isn't it?" One man piped up amidst cheers over Clinton's win of California.

He was not an American and not at the pub for the election party, but thought Trump was still likely to win.

He believed Clinton would not last long if elected.

Robin Sickafoose, from Tucson, Arizona, Katharine Gullota, from San Diego California and Tannie Anz-Meador, from Tucson, Arizona, watch the USA election coverage. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Robin Sickafoose, from Tucson, Arizona, Katharine Gullota, from San Diego California and Tannie Anz-Meador, from Tucson, Arizona, watch the USA election coverage. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Auckland

Earlier in Auckland around 180 people turned out at a blue, white and red-clad bar, to watch the election results come in.

Cardboard cut-outs of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were flanked by United States' flags - and bunting lines every surface of the Empire Tavern, for the event organised by the US Embassy and Consulate in New Zealand.

Consulate General Melanie Higgins addressed the business leaders, friends of the embassy and American-New Zealand based groups present, saying she's proud of the huge numbers of Americans who've come into the consulate in Auckland and voted.

She says the commitment from those on the other side of the world really shows how much is at stake.

At The Fox Sporting Bar and Restaurant in Auckland's viaduct members of Democrats Abroad clapped and cheered when California turned blue, followed by a couple of boos as Trump won Idaho.

A few patrons have dressed in red, white and blue for the occasion and others casually leaned on the high tables with a drink in hand.

Almost all 150 pairs of eyes were glued to one of the three projector screens, watching the states on the US map turn from grey to red or blue.

Lifelong Democrat voters Rebecca Russo and James Brookman were seated at a table close to the bar.

The couple left the US for New Zealand 16 years ago, when Bill Clinton was still in office and now proudly hold Kiwi passports.

Russo said she was relieved to be watching this election from outside the US.

"Better to be here than there. I wouldn't go back [to live]. I'm very proud of being a New Zealander."

While both Russo and Brookman said they were confident Clinton would win, they feared Clinton may not be able to unite the divided country.

"It's gonna be a really ugly four years," Russo said.

Kiwi John Denz said he was a staunch Democrat but when Clinton received the nomination changed camps because he thought she was corrupt.

Today, he is wearing a Trump trucker cap and switches his gaze between the big screen and his smartphone, where he is watching the markets.

Denz said he worked in finance and was concerned with the effect a Clinton presidency would have on the markets longterm.

Denz let out a loud whoop as Trump claimed Oregon.

Outside in the bar's courtyard Robin Sickafoose and Tannie Anz-Meador, from Tuscon, Arizona, and Katharine Gullotta of San Diego, California, grin.

They arrived in New Zealand on a 12-month working holiday only days ago.

Gullotta said it was "fantastic" to be watching the election while abroad because it gave her a new perspective on what was happening.

"We're safe from all of the fallout."

Anz-Meador said "it's been refreshing".

Sickafoose said watching the leadup in the US was like watching a "show". "It's been theatre."

But, despite looking relaxed and laid back Gullotta said all three were anxious and scared of what would become of their homeland after the results were finalised.

- NZ Herald

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