Korean Community Reacts to the Presidential Election



Mixed emotions were drawn in Los Angeles Koreatown after the news broke that Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th president of the United States.

Protests were held across the nation to stand against Trump’s victory, prompting further polarization among Americans. A firestorm of anguish and disappointment also took over social media as it became increasingly likely on election night that Trump has edged our Hillary in a tightly contested race.

However, Korean American Federation of Los Angeles chairwoman Laura Jeon was one of few people within the community who was exultant about the election result.

“I am a member of the Republican party,” she said. “So I’m happy to see a Republican nominee win. It’s still unclear how Trump will run the country as he has not announced specific plans just yet, even though he promised to renegotiate Free Trade Agreements as well as improving the U.S.-Russia relations and abolishing Obamacare. I expect him to lead our country in the right direction by consulting the specialists in each industry.”

Jeon also remained cautious about Trump’s earlier remarks about the need for the U.S. to take a more conservative approach in its relations with South Korea.

“I don’t think everything will turn against South Korea as people there seem to indicate,” said Jeon. “If the South Korean government prepares sufficiently for the negotiations, things could turn out reasonably well. Transition of presidencies have always gone smoothly throughout American history. Hillary Clinton has already accepted the defeat. Ultimately, everyone will have to collaborate and move forward.”

Young-sam Jeong, the former Korean American Hotel Association’s California branch chairman, said, “I like candidates who are corporation-friendly, so I welcome Trump’s election. I expect there to be an increase in job creation. It also would not be easy for him to get everything his way with regards to trading with South Korea.”

L.A. Koreatown-based Man-chul Cho suggested that Trump’s rise to become the next American president is something of an outlier.

“Just as nature comes with natural disasters, this election is something similar in the case of mankind’s history,” Cho said. “This is a result no one expected. How this result came about is worth studying in a variety of angles. It would be difficult to predict how Trump will lead the country, as from a psychiatric standpoint, his personality shows symptoms of a bipolar disorder. We’ll have to wait with anxiety as he serves his term.”

Some religious leaders reluctantly admitted that a candidate who is more suitable to God’s works has won, while others disagreed strongly.

“It was difficult to choose between two unattractive candidates,” said Grace Ministry pastor Ki-hong Han. “As a Protestant Christian, I made my decision based on whose policies are more biblical. It’s a relief that the Republicans have won, as their policies were more conservative.”

However, Korean Baptist Convention chairman Myeong-min Jeong said, “Seeing a candidate who has resorted to reckless speeches, tax evasions and discrimination against women win is disappointing, but it’s also important as Christians to observe and to pray for the leader to provide guidance for the people.”

By Byong Il Kim