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SDLP leader Colum Eastwood vows not to visit White House during Trump presidency

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood expressed "deep disappointment" at Mr Trump's victory and vowed to stand by his pre-election pledge not to attend any White House event under his presidency.

He said across the western world politics was facing a "dark and difficult moment", and warned about the threat posed by the politics of "resentment, fear and unchallengeable untruthfulness".

"That was true post-Brexit; it feels so much truer now," said Mr Eastwood.

"As things fall apart, the centre ground is struggling to know what is worth holding on to. Mainstream politics remains uneasy and unsure as to its place, its power and its purpose.

"Donald Trump has swept in to fill this vacuum. Trump's victory was anti-establishment, anti-immigrant and most particularly anti-globalisation.

"This morning there will be the easy and understandable temptation to turn to anger at the ignorance, misogyny and racism which has fed this victory.

"I am conscious that this is particularly the feeling amongst a huge swathe of young people, not only in America, but across the world.

"Instead of anger, though, I think it would be better for us all if we displayed the softer sentiment of sadness.

"It would be better if we reflect on and react to this result and ensure that his victory and vision is not one which endures.

"Trump's was not so much a victory of right over left, it was a victory of fanatical and fantasy absolutism over a more considered, coherent and kinder politics. This is increasingly the choice that western electorates now face.

"It is for this reason I have said that I will not attend a Trump White House. I choose to stand by a very different set of values than those displayed by this man."

Ulster Unionist Euro MP Jim Nicholson struck a very different note as he congratulated the President-elect.

"Donald Trump has achieved what the experts had said was impossible," he said. "We are certainly living in changing times.

"Globally, we still face many challenges and much uncertainty. The crisis in Syria is ongoing and the Nato alliance has committed to bolster deterrence and defence along its eastern border in response to Russian activity in the region.

"From the EU's point of view, many will now be questioning the future of the EU-US trade deal TTIP.

"We also wait to see how this new chapter in the UK's 'special relationship' with the United States will develop, as the UK Government may seek its own transatlantic free trade deal.

"I congratulate President-elect Trump on his victory and wish him well for the next four years. While the world is changing fast, global leadership is still needed."

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