WASHINGTON — When news of Donald Trump’s resignation spread through Amsterdam, it literally stopped traffic, as the typically reserved Dutch laid down their bicycles and strangers hugged strangers.
In South Korea, thousands of women gathered in Seoul Plaza and lit candles for what organizers there called a group prayer of gratitude for nuclear peace.
And in New Delhi, a massive dance party led by LGBTQ activists spilled down city blocks, ending with a synchronized two-minute kiss-in to represent the half-term that now-President Mike Pence will serve out.
Worldwide, impromptu street parties popped up in major cities and small towns as people realized the American president had fled. As news spread of what appeared to be the first U.S. presidential resignation since Richard Nixon, crowds from Buenos Aires to Cape Town waved American flags, played American music, and congratulated the United States.
In Paris, an estimated 100,000 people flooded the streets to celebrate as the French do: riotously. “Today is like when we win the World Cup,” yelled Pauline Léon, “except that the whole world wins.” She paused for a moment, then added: “It’s universal — could anything be more French?”
Celebrations broke out across Mexico and the American Southwest. People in San Diego parked cars by the border and blasted Los Tigres del Norte's "Somos Más Americanos" ("We Are More American") so loud it could be heard in neighboring Tijuana, where revelers danced salsa and hugged passers-by.
Working the Californian side of the party was Fernando Fuentes, a 32-year-old Mexican national from Mexicali. Fuentes was selling leftover Day of the Dead sugar skulls, adorned with tiny blonde toupees that Fuentes insisted the skulls had simply sprouted overnight.
“It’s a mystery of science,” Fuentes said. “The earth moved a little and the universe responded. This is why America is so great.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wryly invited Trump to settle in Chiapas. “I believe you will enjoy our low tax rates, Mr. Ex-President,” López Obrador tweeted. “The cost of living is affordable in Mexico because we are not paying for any walls.”
López Obrador’s invitation came with the knowledge Trump could scarcely be less likely to set foot in Mexico. But in Europe, leaders were wary.
French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that the French could not give Trump safe harbor for fears that “a trade war” could erupt: “We would have to fight just to trade him away.”
“He might however try Morocco,” Macron added, referring to the place that the authoritarian ruler of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, spent his last months after being forced from office in 1997.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed to Der Spiegel that Trump would not be given safe harbor in Germany should he request it. “The German people have been very generous in accepting desperate people fleeing conflict zones,” she said. “But in this particular case, I would not want to strain their patience.”
In London, a demonstrator held a sign in Trafalgar Square that read, “Mr. Trump, skip the UK. May I invite you to Crimea River?” The text was a play on the Justin Timberlake song, “Cry Me a River” — but Crimea, as it happens, appears to be exactly where Trump has headed.
Other celebrations were more intimate. In Maybole, Scotland, Kelly Fleming was halfway through her shift behind the bar at the Maybole Arms when a customer announced that Trump had fled. “No one believed it till the BBC showed nuns setting off fireworks in front of the White House,” Fleming said.
As reality set in, the bartender did the only thing she could think to do. She grabbed the rope dangling from the brass bell above the bar, clanged it like a fire alarm, and began uncorking Champagne. “It felt appropriate,” Fleming said, “as did the pint glasses we drank it from.”