World leaders tend to stay out of U.S. presidential elections; they rarely comment on candidates yet even to receive their party’s nomination.
But previous elections didn’t feature Donald Trump, the man who during a presidential debate made an impassioned defense of his penis.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said of Trump’s campaign tactics: “That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron denounced Trump’s suggestion of a ban on Muslims entering the United States as “divisive, stupid and wrong.”
On the plus side, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Trump “an outstanding and talented personality.”
The irony is that Trump is a true man of the world: quite simply, other countries are essential to his businesses, his personal life, even his birth.
It’s time to visit the nations that have made The Donald such a unique American.
C’mon, everyone, hop aboard Trump Air – actually, it’s probably best to find an alternative form of transportation – and see the world Trump-style!
Key community: Kallstadt
What he got from them: His paternal lineage, his name (or a version of it, at least)
The Connections: In 1885 at age 16, The Donald’s grandfather Friedrich Drumpf (later Frederick Trump) left his village for the United States.
Years later Friedrich attempted to return to his German home … only to be sent away again for not performing his military service.
To recap, this immigrant:
1. Left for America to find a better life.
2. Left America to resume his previous life.
3. Was rejected by his previous life so gave America another shot.
Which isn’t quite how Fievel Mousekewitz did it in “An American Tail.”
(Drumpf did finally settle in New York, starting a course of events that would one day make Jeb Bush very sad.)
How they feel about Trump: The village doesn’t seem to have grown fonder of the Drumpfs, as Deutsche Welle contacted Trump’s distant relations and elicited little more on the record than, “Hopefully this hype will ease up soon.”
Greater Germany has been explicitly critical, with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel saying Trump offers “a way back into a fairytale world” and is “a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development.” (For someone who talks about money as much as Trump, them’s fighting words.)
How Trump feels about them: While Trump went through a period of, shall we say, ambivalence about his German heritage – more about this shortly – he declared in the 2014 documentary “Kings of Kallstadt”: “I love Kallstadt. Ich bin ein Kallstadter.”
Incidentally, the other Kallstadt Kings are the Heinz family, conquerors of the ketchup kingdom.
Key communities: Tong, Aberdeen
What he got from them: His mom, golf resorts
The connections: Trump feels strongly about being born in the U.S.A. – ask Hawaii-born Barack Obama and Canadian-born Ted Cruz – making it surprising his own mother comes from a small village across the Atlantic.
Trump returned to her homeland to create the “greatest golf course anywhere in the world.”
The UK in general isn’t thrilled with The Donald – its parliament debated banning him.
They didn’t reach a binding decision, but Trump’s views were described as “repugnant” by one Parliamentarian.
How Trump feels about them: “I feel Scottish.”
Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia)
Key community: Zlin (then called Gottwaldov)
What he got from them: His wife (version 1)
The connections: Ivana Marie Zelnickova arrived in the United States in her mid-20s, having previously emigrated to Canada.
Married to Trump in 1977, they had three children together – today all are members of the Trump Organization – before an extremely public 1990 separation and eventual divorce triggered by his affair with the future Mrs. Trump #2, Marla Maples.
Incidentally, Maples is a native of Georgia (U.S. version).
How they feel about Trump: The Czech Republic is often said to have a Trump of its own: popular billionaire Andrej Babis.
The finance minister and deputy prime minister, Babis has expressed an interest in tighter control of borders and can seem very much like The Donald … if The Donald were miserable.
(“I did not want to go to politics. I am very unhappy in politics. It has destroyed my life.”)
How Trump feels about them: Trump doesn’t comment on the Czech people, but remains fond of his former wife – even in the midst of the divorce, he had nice things to say about her (and his mistress and himself).
“To tell you the truth, I’ve made Ivana a very popular woman,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of satellites.
“Hey, whether it’s Marla or Ivana. Marla can do any movie she wants to now.
“Ivana can do whatever she wants.”
Slovenia (then Yugoslavia)
Key community: Sevnica
What he got from them: His wife (current version)
The connections: Melanija Knavs (later Melania Knauss) came from a town of 5,000 before moving to the capital of Ljubljana.
At 18, she signed with a Milan modeling agency and began an international career, working with photographers like Helmut Newton and appearing on the cover of Vogue.
At 34, she married Trump in 2005, with Hillary Clinton in attendance … as well as potential future political opponents Simon Cowell and Star Jones (anything’s possible now, people).
How they feel about Trump: Excited about the prospect of a Future First Lady – the United States’ first foreign-born one since John Quincy Adams’ London-born wife Louisa left the White House in 1829 – Slovenia seems fairly supportive of The Donald.
The folk of Sevnica hope a Trump win might lead to publicity and additional donations from Melania. (She gave to the local health clinic after the 2006 birth of their son, Barron.)
How Trump feels about them: Trump doesn’t really discuss Slovenia, but he’s said plenty about their native daughter.
For instance, during a 2004 Howard Stern interview, Trump reported that through their five-year courtship he was unaware of Melania ever having a bowel movement:
“I’ve never seen anything – it’s amazing.”
While this has been widely reported, it’s been less noted Trump went on to concede there might be pooping “after marriage,” yet wed her anyway. (Love!)
Key communities: Baja, various factories
What he got from them: Luxury condos (almost), clothing
The connections: In 2013, Trump settled a lawsuit by investors over the collapse of the Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico.
Trump insisted he only licensed his name and had no involvement with its development, though he did make a promotional video raving, “Baja is one of the really hot places.”
Consumers of Trump products will note some have carried “Made in Mexico” labels.
How they feel about Trump: They’re not crazy about him.
That said, Donald Trump pinatas have proven very, very popular.
How Trump feels about them: Let’s go back to the presidential announcement:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Key communities: More factories, Jersey City (we’ll explain)
What he got from them: Luxury condos, clothing
The connections: Trump labels that don’t read “Made in Mexico” often say “Made in China.”
Trump explained this in 2011 by declaring, “China so manipulates their currency it makes it almost impossible for American companies to compete.”
But Trump-branded clothes aren’t the only Trump product made profitable with Chinese input – 100 Chinese investors are contributing a combined $50 million to the still-under-construction Trump Bay Street skyscraper in New Jersey.
How they feel about Trump: China seems to view Trump much the way Trump views China: formidable and more than a little scary.
How Trump feels about them: His comments on Mexico and Muslims get the attention, but China may be Trump’s true obsession.
Trump has declared: “What China has done to America? The money and the jobs they’ve taken from us? It is the greatest single theft in the history of the United States.”
He’s also asserted, “I like China!” and praised its knack for purchasing $15 million apartments.
In short, Trump seems to see China the way Jesse Pinkman looked at Walter White in the final season of “Breaking Bad”: there’s fear … but also respect, dammit!
Key community: Doonbeg
What he got from them: Golf resort
The connections: In 2014, Trump invested $20 million in a property in County Clare, an acquisition where the only downside is that it’s collapsing into the sea.
How they feel about Trump: He’s on better terms with these locals than the Scots, but Trump still caused outrage when he proposed building what Friends of the Irish Environment termed a “monster sea wall.” (The Donald likes walls.)
Oh, and the Irish parliament will consider its own ban on Trump visits.
How Trump feels about them: How can Trump have anything but contempt for the land that spawned his greatest nemesis, Rosie O’Donnell, who is “a loser,” “a real loser,” “a true loser,” “a total loser,” “crude, rude, obnoxious and dumb” and “my nice fat little Rosie.”
She also brings out his softer side. After her 2012 heart attack he tweeted, “Rosie, get better fast. I’m starting to miss you!”
Key communities: All of them
What he got from them: Nothing but good feelings, brother.
The connections: Trump’s father apparently reasoned being a German-American wasn’t great for business during and right after World War II, so he presented himself as Swedish.
Donald carried on the family tradition, insisting as recently as 1990, “My father was not German; my father’s parents were German … Swedish, and really sort of all over Europe.”
How they feel about Trump: Based on the popularity of Swedish website TrumpDonald.org where you give Donald a blast of trump(et) – it’s been blown 110,000,000 times and counting – the flirtation may be one-sided.
How Trump feels about them: He still thinks highly of them.
Trump declared during a 2015 interview, “To the best of my knowledge the people that knocked down the World Trade Center – you know where they’re – they didn’t fly back to Sweden, OK.”
Key communities: Bali, Lido
What he got from them: Luxury resorts (hopefully)
The connections: Trump has affiliations with properties in North America, South America and Europe, so it was time to take on a new continent.
Thus 2015 saw the announcement of his first and second properties in Asia, with a resort situated in “the most magnificent location in Bali” and another in Lido Lakes that shall be “the pride of Indonesia.”
How Trump feels about them: He’s apparently fond of “amazing man” Setya Novanto, Indonesia’s speaker of the house, who participated in a seemingly already completed Trump press conference on September 3, 2015.
Three months later, Novanto resigned – while declaring his innocence – after nationally televised hearings on allegations he attempted to extort stock worth $4 billion – yes, with a “b” – further proving that regardless of nationality, race or religion, Trump likes people who do – and are accused of doing – things big.
Sean Cunningham has written for and served as an editor for a variety of publications and websites and conducted interviews with everyone from Oscar winners to Wu-Tang Clan rappers while occasionally appearing on radio and television shows.