James and Nancy Morrison have just celebrated their 17th year in Australia. (Photo: Helena Abdou)

Trump’s America: US expats watch in shock from afar

For expats Nancy and James Morrison, it’s a relief not to be living in Donald Trump’s America.

But the American couple say they have found Scott Morrison’s Australia to be little different.

If you look at the three major free countries in the world – the UK, the United States and Australia – all three are currently being run by authoritarian right-wing governments, all three have the same thing in common,” Mr Morrison told Hatch.

I don’t feel it’s any different here than it is in the US.”

It’s been three years since Mr Trump was elected 45th president of the United States. His public impeachment hearings kicked off last week.

The Morrisons first moved to Australia from the US in 2002. They said American expats had watched his presidency  from a distance but were still affected by it.

“More mentally and emotionally than anything else,” Mr Morrison said.

“We live on my US social security benefits. He’s certainly a threat to those benefits going forward.”

The unsettled political climate in the US has the couple convinced they won’t be moving back there any time soon.

“Viewing it from a distance is better because we feel safer,” Nancy Morrison said.

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There are more than 90,000 Americans living in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It has the sixth largest American population in the world and has steadily grown over the years.

For American expat Liz Rossiter, embracing her roots has been difficult in the age of Trump.

“I was here before 9/11, after 9/11 and I was here through Obama,” she said.

“Now I’ve been here for three years of Trump and just the difference in the way that I feel about my identity as an American in the world has changed.

“The U.S doesn’t represent my values overseas anymore. That’s quite difficult because I used to be very proud.”

When Mr Trump was first elected, Americans took to Twitter to share their distaste, with some even vowing to leave the country.

In the first two years of his administration, 16 per cent of Americans said they would permanently leave America under Trump.

Those who left America prior to Mr Trump’s election have found that viewing his presidency from a distance can elicit a sense of powerlessness.

“I’m active within a group of Democrats in Australia to the extent that I can be but just watching it from a position of not really being able to do anything. I can’t run for office or protest in the ways that I could if I were closer, you feel quite helpless,” Ms Rossiter said.

“I have really deep concerns that Trump is not going to go out peacefully or quietly.”