Thursday, July 18, 2024

The World Reacts to Trump’s Guilty Verdict

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump was convicted by a New York jury on Thursday of felony charges for falsifying business records related to a hush money payment made to an adult film star as part of an effort to illegally influence the 2016 election. The verdict, which found the presumptive Republican presidential nominee guilty on all 34 charges, sent political shockwaves through the United States as the 2024 election cycle gains steam.

But the historic court case also captivated readers well beyond U.S. borders. Below, we’ve rounded up the international reactions to the verdict.

Germany: The news dominated newspaper coverage in Germany and across Europe, with many outlets giving the conviction front-page, above-the-fold treatment. The coverage broadly mirrored that of U.S. outlets, with more ink spent speculating on how the guilty verdict would galvanize Trump’s supporters than reflecting on the historic nature of the conviction itself.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine simply trumpeted: “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.” Leading newspaper Der Spiegel upped the ante with the headline “Guilty!” repeated 34 times. Tabloid Bild covered all the bases by asking, “Victory for Justice, or Dark Day for America?”

United Kingdom: Trump’s guilty verdict was splashed across the front pages of top newspapers and tabloids including the Daily Telegraph, the Times, the Scotsman, the Mirror, and the Daily Star (the last of which proclaimed with its trademark subtlety, “Orange Manbaby Is Guilty on All Counts”). The Financial Times asserted that the verdict “puts America’s political system on trial,” while the Economist led with a banner headline: “Guilty as charged: The disgrace of a former American president.”

But the magazine also argued that the case was “counter-productive” ahead of the U.S. presidential election. The “prosecution has done more to help than hurt Mr Trump’s chances of winning back the White House, and, as the insurrection of January 6th 2021 ought to have made clear, that is a greater hazard to the rule of law than any fraudulent book-keeping,” the Economist concluded.

France. In France’s Le Monde, the verdict led the day as well, with the flagship French daily noting that the echo of that one word—guilty—“speaks both of the vitality of the state of law put to the test and of the unprecedented challenge that is emerging for American democracy.” Another French daily, Libération, highlighted that although the verdict frees Trump from the burden of having to report to court almost daily as he has had to do over the past month, he will continue to be “weighed down with the aura of being a repeat offender, unanimously condemned by a jury of 12 regular citizens.” Trump’s sentencing is scheduled for July 11.

Switzerland: Swiss newspapers cut to the chase, with prominent coverage in Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger noting that “Trump’s political comeback will now become a campaign of revenge.”

Poland: Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza put the verdict into local terms, highlighting Polish President Donald Tusk’s conclusion that “Polish politicians must learn the lesson from America.”

Spain: Spain gave front-page treatment to Trump’s conviction in all the major dailies, though right-leaning outlets, otherwise engaged in ousting Spain’s current prime minister, had less time to spend on judicial comeuppance abroad.

Russia: Russian state-funded media outlet RT led its coverage with a quote from Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, calling the trial a “kangaroo court.” Another state propaganda outlet, Sputnik, echoed Trump’s talking points, calling the trial “rigged” and “disgraceful.”

Hungary: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a friend to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump, has consolidated control over Hungary’s media landscape as part of the country’s worrying backslide from democracy, even as he is lionized by factions of the U.S. Republican Party and some far-right political groups in Europe. The pro-government daily Magyar Hirlap led its coverage with photos of Trump supporters waving flags as the former president’s motorcade departed Manhattan. Its other top U.S.-focused news story was on claims that a plan by U.S. President Joe Biden to ease restrictions on marijuana use “could endanger the lives of millions.”

China: The Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times led its English-language coverage with the slightly garbled headline “Trump convicted in hush money case, ‘to exacerbate political extremism, social unrest’” and threaded its coverage with quotes from Chinese academics such as: “The attitudes of both parties further reflect the rottenness of American politics, and that the law now seems to be used as a political weapon.”

Israel: The Trump verdict hardly made a dent in two of Israel’s leading papers, the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel, where coverage of the ongoing war in Gaza still dominates the news cycle. Ynet, another popular Israeli news outlet, topped its coverage with: “‘Hang Them All!’: The Rage of Trump Supporters and the Women Voters Who Might Abandon Him.”

The left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz covered the political fallout of the trial through reactions from influential Jewish political groups in the United States, noting that Matthew Brooks, the CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, had decried the verdict as a “political prosecution of a political opponent.”

Haaretz also noted that shortly after the verdict, Trump lashed out at the district attorney who prosecuted the case, Alvin Bragg, calling him a “Soros-backed DA” in reference to the Jewish billionaire philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros. The newspaper explained that Soros’s name “has been frequently used as an antisemitic dog whistle” and quoted Amy Spitalnick, the CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, as saying that Trump’s invocation of such “antisemitic, racist, and bigoted tropes” is “intended to undercut our democracy and fuel political violence.”

Qatar: Al Jazeera had multiple front-page stories on Trump’s trial on its website, from the moment the verdict came to an explainer on what it will mean for the U.S. elections. Al Jazeera correspondent John Hendren argued that the verdict will only energize Trump’s base: “It is interesting to see that so far nothing has really tainted his appeal among his die-hard supporters.”

Nigeria: The Vanguard, a leading Nigerian newspaper, led its headline coverage of the case with a quote from Biden’s campaign: “No one is above the law.” The newspaper added that “Trump’s historic conviction — which would have been a knockout blow in any other election year — is undoubtedly a brighter spot for Biden after weeks of polling showing him neck and neck nationally with Trump.”

South Africa: One country where the Trump verdict hardly made any waves was South Africa, which is in the midst of its own national elections, where the ruling African National Congress party is on track to lose its majority for the first time since the country became a democracy in 1994. There were no stories on Trump in some of the country’s top papers—the Johannesburg Star, the Mail & Guardian, or the Sunday Times—as they focused on their own election.

India: This was the case in India, too, where the country is poised to announce its national election results next week. None of India’s top newspapers, including the Times of India, Hindustan Times, the Hindu, and the Indian Express, prioritized coverage of the Trump trial.

Argentina: Clarín gave the trial—helpfully labeled “pornogate”—some coverage, with emphasis on the “fuel” it will provide to Trump’s campaign.

Mexico: Mexico’s biggest daily found space amid the country’s own presidential race to highlight Trump’s becoming the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a felony.

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