Czech president very happy with Trump win, says shares his views

Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech President Milos Zeman declared on Wednesday he was “very happy” with Donald Trump’s election victory, saying he cut through political correctness and addressed key issues like migration.

Zeman, who is head of the NATO and European Union member state but does not steer day-to-day policies, endorsed Trump in September.

“I would like to cordially congratulate Donald Trump. I had, as one of few European politicians, declared public support for this candidate... because I agree with his opinions on migration as well as the fight against Islamic terrorism,” Zeman told reporters in a rare press briefing at the Prague Castle.

Zeman’s reaction chimed with Hungarian leader Viktor Orban but contrasted with shock in many European capitals.

Unlike the current Czech center-left administration, Zeman shares Trump’s warm relations toward Russian leader Vladimir Putin and opposition to liberal and academic elites.

“I appreciate Donald Trump’s public demeanor, he speaks clearly, sometimes roughly, but understandably, and avoids what is sometimes called political correctness,” Zeman said.

He said the election showed American voters’ resistance to manipulation by the media, another frequent target of both Trump and Zeman.

The Czech president said he had sent congratulations to Trump and invited him to visit the Czech Republic, the birthplace of Trump’s ex-wife Ivana.

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Trump had won on “aggressive populism” but added he believed the United States would remain a reliable partner and ally.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka