WASHINGTON — The prospect of a Donald Trump presidency is apparently sending eyebrow-furrowing ripples of consternation across the globe.
There's statistical evidence, and anecdotal.
New surveys show that people in Canada and elsewhere are, by an overwhelming majority, concerned about the populist billionaire becoming the so-called leader of the free world.
Actual world leaders are apparently concerned too.
Trump came up in conversation at a G7 summit Thursday — the press pool following the leaders overheard his name being mentioned. President Barack Obama later said some of his peers are worried.
Donald Trump speaks at a rally on May 26, 2016 in North Dakota. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
"The world pays attention to U.S. elections," Obama told a news conference. "I think it's fair to say that they are surprised by the Republican nominee. They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements.
"But they're rattled by him — and for good reason — because a lot of the proposals that he's made display either ignorance of world affairs, or a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through (solutions to problems)."
Evidence of such foreign rattling appears in new polls.
— In Canada, an Abacus Data survey suggested Trump would get clobbered in the country — with Hillary Clinton beating him 74 per cent to 26 per cent among Canadian respondents, winning clear majorities in every province. Eighty-four per cent said Trump would make the world less safe.
"The world pays attention to U.S. elections."
— Sixty-seven per cent of Canadians hated or disliked his views, compared to 20 per cent who liked or loved them according to a multi-country survey for the liberal group Avaaz. Sixty-nine per cent said he'd make the world less safe, versus 19 per cent who said he'd make it safer.
He was even less popular in the other countries surveyed — the UK, France, Germany, Japan and Mexico. The poll was conducted by YouGov, which found in another survey that Trump was popular in only one G20 country: Russia.
Trump apparently revels in the rattling.
He was asked about Obama's remarks.
He used them to support his basic campaign message: that the U.S. currently loses, because its leaders are losers, and America winds up with bad trade deals, climate regulations, and heavy military spending to defend other countries, because it's suckered into giving other countries such sweet deals.
So if you're mortified by Donald Trump, world, he embraces your mortification.
"If they’re rattled in a friendly way, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing."
"When you rattle someone, that's good," Trump told reporters in North Dakota, where he was attending an energy conference.
"Many of the countries in our world — our beautiful world — have been absolutely abusing us and taking advantage of us. ... If they’re rattled in a friendly way, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing."
He offered an example of his promised toughness during the same news conference.
It involved the Keystone XL oil pipeline to Canada.
Trump said he'd approve the pipeline, which Obama has rejected. But he'd apparently drive a tougher bargain. He suggested he'd demand a larger slice of the profits for the U.S.
"I would absolutely approve it, 100 per cent. But I would want a better deal," he said.
"But give us a piece... a significant piece of the profits."
Trump's narrative notwithstanding, the original project arguably did provide that so-called significant piece.
Up to 12 per cent of the pipeline's contents would have been U.S. oil, added through an on-ramp in Montana. Much of it would have come from oil extracted by American companies in Alberta's oilsands. It would then have been shipped into the United States to be refined by American companies in Texas and Louisiana.