Foreign Policy

Slovenia's prime minister is desperately making an attempt to justify the congratulations Trump name

This article is part of Election 2020: America Votes, FP's 24/7 coverage of the US election results as they come in, with brief dispatches from correspondents and analysts from around the world. The America Votes page is free to all readers.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa was not as cautious as American decision-makers in choosing a final winner in the US presidential election. He tweeted congratulations to President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning, writing: "More delays and facts denying #MSM make the ultimate triumph for #POTUS even greater."

Since his mistake, Jansa has retweeted conspiracy theories and accused Democrats of mass voter fraud in between attacks on violent protests in his own country. Issues that take up the Trumpist language include condemning the alleged corruption of the mainstream media, citing as unfair that the elections in a handful of cities resulted in votes, and claims that the courts ultimately voted for Trump will decide. News organizations that support Jansa, such as right-wing extremist Nova24, have followed suit and published fictional reports of election fraud.

In some ways the mistake wasn't surprising. Jansa is a far-right leader who campaigned against immigrants, was jailed for corruption six months after his second term as prime minister before the Slovenian Constitutional Court overturned his conviction, and is a close ally of Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orban. He was a strong supporter of Trump, giving him pre-election support and drawing on ties to Slovenian-born first lady Melania Trump. It remains to be seen whether Jansa will eat his words and finally congratulate the newly elected president or whether he will double down – not a recipe for friendship with the new government.

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