International reaction to former United States President Donald Trump’s arraignment has been divided with some newspapers’ coverage focusing on the developments and others using pun-heavy headlines to illustrate where their audiences stand on the affair.
Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the indictment that was unsealed on Tuesday in New York.
The Republican, who is running for president again in 2024, pleaded not guilty to the charges, which stem from a grand jury investigation into hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 election, which Trump won.
The indictment also accuses Trump of using a “catch-and-kill scheme” to subvert negative press, paying to suppress a doorman’s account of a child fathered out of wedlock and bury a story of another alleged extramarital affair believed to be with Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The front pages of most UK newspapers were covered with photos of Trump as he appeared in court. Some used catchy headlines, such as “Trump in the eye of the Stormy” in the Mirror and “Trump in the dock” in The Times.
German newspapers went in hard on Trump with the Tagesspiegel using the headline “Nothing but the truth?” in a piece about Trump’s track record of misleading claims.
The German new magazine, Der Spiegel, published a column headlined “He Had It Coming”.
“After eluding the wheels of justice for so long with an unending repertoire of tricks, feints and lies, he [Trump] now finds himself equal before the law after all,” the column said.
Der Spiegel also published another piece to contrast Trump’s love for the limelight and his now difficult legal status in an article headlined “The Courtroom, His New Stage”.
Spain’s El País newspaper stuck to the news with its story headlined “Trump accused of 34 crimes” along with an image of the ex-president and his lawyers inside the New York court.
Italy’s l’Opinione was more opinionated, leading with the headline “Trump’s longest day” as it devoted most of its front page to a picture of the former reality TV star.
Several newspapers highlighted what they described as the “political benefits” of the arrest.
In an editorial last week, the French newspaper Le Monde wrote: “By playing again the broken record that invariably presents him as the victim of a ‘witch hunt’ and a plot by the ‘deep state’, Trump is forcing his camp to take his side.”
Similarly, Brazilian newspaper O Globo published a piece titled “Trump Turns Dock into Election Box After Criminal Indictment” with the paper describing how his advisers saw the case and media attention as “a lucrative campaign ad” and “stimulus for online fundraising”.
While China’s state-controlled media did not cover the court case on their front pages, the Russian daily Izvestia lead its coverage of Trump’s arraignment with quotes from Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who called the arrest “the crisis of liberalism”.
“This is when the system, which is declared as absolutely free, ends up devouring or denying itself,” she said.
In an opinion piece in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, a writer said China was “chuckling” at the irony of the US holding democracy summits while putting a former president on trial.
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The Global Times, a state-backed nationalist tabloid, ran quotes from experts saying the case “further revealed the dysfunction of the American political system amid increasingly extreme political polarization”.
Some world leaders also commented on social media. The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, asked how the world would react if an Salvadoran opposition presidential candidate was similarly accused of financial wrongdoing.
In a Twitter post, Bukele also said: “Think what you want about former President Trump and the reasons he’s being indicted.
“But just imagine if this happened in any other country, where a government arrested the main opposition candidate. The United States ability to use ‘democracy’ as foreign policy is gone.”
Separately, Hungary’s far-right leader Viktor Orban tweeted ahead of Trump’s court appearance: “Keep on fighting, Mr. President! We are with you.”