How are Americans in Denmark reacting to the US election?

The general election in the United States is yet to be decided, but will impact Americans abroad regardless of the outcome.

How are Americans in Denmark reacting to the US election?
Americans from Democrats Abroad at the Midwestern Diner in Copenhagen on Wednesday. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

With several states still yet to finish counting votes, those on a thin margin could still hand the presidency to either incumbent Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden, though Biden looks closer to the line at the time of writing.

The United States Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands – a Trump appointee – said in the aftermath of the vote that she hoped for a peaceful transition regardless of the result.

Speaking at a small post-election event at the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen on Wednesday morning, Sands said she did not want to “speculate about who wins”.

The ambassador said she hoped for a Trump win but also that her hope was “for a peaceful transition of power”, according to news wire Ritzau’s report from the event.

She also said she hoped “all Americans will support the man – whoever that will be – who is president”.

Sands’ comments strike a remarkably conciliatory note, given that Trump propagated disinformation about voter fraud prior to the election and has already falsely claimed victory and filed lawsuits in a number of states.

Denmark-based Americans who responded to The Local’s requests for reactions to the election tended to lean Democratic – in fact, we didn’t receive any responses expressing support for Trump.

Ryan Glass said on Thursday morning he was “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome of the national vote.

“Happy America showed up to the polls. Hoping we’ll see a return of the US to the global table,” Glass wrote via a tweet.

The importance given to global engagement by a Denmark-based American is perhaps unsurprising.

David S. Miller, vice chair and spokesperson with Democrats Abroad Denmark, told The Local via email he was “hopeful that Joe Biden will win the presidential election” based on election counts as of around noon on Thursday, Danish time.

“Most of the Democrats living in Denmark who I've talked to, as well as myself, are not taking it for granted that Biden is going to win. We all suffer from the trauma of 2016, where the polls showed that Hillary Clinton would win. Even this time around, polls showed that Biden would win, but when it came to Election Day, the actual margins were much thinner than what the polls indicated,” Miller noted.

Votes by foreign-based US nationals, which could be expected to lean Democratic, appear to have increased in 2020 compared to 2016, he said.

“From the statistics Democrats Abroad has gathered, it looks like votes by Americans living abroad has doubled in this election compared to 2016. I feel this is due to the polarizing effect Trump has had on Americans, and Americans living abroad in particular have seen how the international reputation of the United States has been damaged under his Administration,” Miller wrote.

“We have a very divided United States, and among Joe Biden's many tasks will be to reunite Americans,” he added.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Watching the US coronavirus response from Denmark is surreal

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US ambassador to Denmark makes incorrect Twitter claim about own vote

The United States Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands has been criticised for tweeting an incorrect claim that her own vote had not been counted in the country's general election.

US ambassador to Denmark makes incorrect Twitter claim about own vote
United States Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Earlier this week, Sands posted on her personal Twitter account a screenshot which she claimed showed her absentee ballot in the state of Pennsylvania had not been registered.

Absentee or mail-in votes in the state can be tracked using the voter's name, date of birth and the county they voted in. All of this information for Sands is public.

Several other Twitter users – as well as the New York Times – then looked up Sands' vote on the Pennsylvania state government website and found it was indeed registered, on October 15th. It is unclear when the information on Sands' vote would have been updated to Pennsylvania's election website.


Sands, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017, has made several Twitter posts since the US election in support of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.

The NYT writes that the US State Department did not respond to its request for comment after the paper sent press officers screen shots of both Sands’ tweets and the Pennsylvania election website showing her vote was counted. Danish broadcaster TV2 said it was unable to reach Sands for comment.

The story prompted Sands’ predecessor, former president Barack Obama appointee Rufus Gifford, to post a link to the NYT report with an apology to Denmark.

“I’m so sorry Denmark. Truth and decency will be back in 70 days,” Gifford wrote in reference to president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s election. The former ambassador campaigned for Biden in the 2020 US election.

READ ALSO: 'This is how to leave office': Former Danish PM sends Trump a message