How the World Reacted to Trump’s Guilty Verdict

Sondre Borg
Sondre Borg - Writer
8 Min Read
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The first conviction of a sitting or former US president has made headlines across the globe. Much of the world’s media have been reflecting on what this means for Mr. Trump’s aspiration to return to the White House. He was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records to disguise payments to an adult film star to buy her silence just before the 2016 election. He denied the charges and the affair. So how is this historic conviction being covered from Buenos Aires to Beijing? We asked our colleagues at BBC Monitoring, which tracks and analyses media around the world.

Russia: ‘Justice New York Style’

By Sandro Vetsko, BBC Monitoring Russia specialist

In Russia, the largely Kremlin-controlled media have reported Trump’s conviction with a bias in his favor. This is expected, given their support for Trump during his first run for president and their criticism of Joe Biden. “Justice New York style,” was how a presenter on the popular state channel NTV put it, with a correspondent suggesting the jury may not have thoroughly considered their decision, saying they deliberated “for just 11 hours.” The Kremlin has portrayed the trial as part of the battle for the White House between President Joe Biden and Trump. “They are effectively simply removing political rivals using all possible legal and illegal means. That much is clear,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. This line has also been echoed in the media. State Channel One TV host Artyom Sheynin asserted on Telegram that America’s judiciary was geared “too blatantly to benefit Biden.”

Italy: ‘This Could Derail White House Bid’

By Alys Davies, BBC News, London

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An editorial in the French newspaper Le Monde views that while American voters were owed “the truth” of what they call Trump’s criminality, the effects of his conviction remain highly uncertain. The “real” sentencing will not come on 11 July but on presidential election day, 5 November, it said. US bureau chief for the Italian daily La Repubblica, Paolo Mastrolilli, takes a more strident view that the guilty verdict is a “defeat” for Trump that could “derail” his election bid, despite the continued support of his loyal fanbase. In contrast, a comment piece in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung decries the US political system and the lack of influence the conviction will, in its eyes, have on Trump’s standing among Republicans. “Guilty 34 times… After such a verdict, a candidate for the most powerful job in the world should be politically finished. Instead, his party continues to bow down to Donald Trump,” writes the paper’s US correspondent Peter Burghardt. Meanwhile, Polish daily Rzeczpospolita says the “American left has shot itself in the foot” with Trump’s conviction. Pawel Lekpowski describes Trump as “a victim of the overzealous political correct moral inquisition” and says “the effect of [the guilty verdict] will be the opposite of what was intended.”

China: ‘Old People and Criminals’ Run for White House

By BBC Monitoring China team

Beijing has not officially commented on Trump’s conviction, but the story has generated significant coverage in state media, much of it factual. The few commentators who have talked about it have cast it in terms critical of American democracy. The US election has become “a battle between old people and criminals,” said one commentary in the state-affiliated outlet Guancha, which often posts blogs and articles on trending topics with a nationalist tone. Washington has now entered a “deep-water zone,” with the “shabby old ship” of the US facing an upcoming political storm, suggested another. Another in the same outlet said the ruling exposed the deep “polarisation in US party politics.” Shen Yi, an international relations professor at Fudan University, said in another nationalist outlet, Global Times, that Washington’s “divisive” political system was destroying the soft power the US had built up – “bad news” for “American hegemony.”

Mexico: ‘Guilty of Pornogate’

By Pascal Fletcher, BBC Monitoring Latin America specialist, Miami

The welter of headlines on the Donald Trump verdict, from Mexico to Argentina, reflected the region’s uneasy view of the US ex-president. While major dailies made a point of splashing large photos of a stern-looking Trump on their front pages, they also made clear that the guilty verdict against him would not stop him from running for re-election. This is a sobering prospect for many Latin American leaders and governments who have deep misgivings and fears about his radical proposals and threats to counter foreign migrants and drug cartels from south of the border. Prominent Colombian daily El Espectador accompanied a front-page article with the headline: “A criminal headed for the White House.” Others across the region varied in tone, from the Brazilian daily O Globo’s statement of historical fact “Trump is the 1st ex-president of the US condemned for a crime,” to Mexican daily Reforma’s deeply unflattering headline “Guilty of Pornogate.” In Argentina, daily Clarin’s initial report called the guilty verdict “a shock” and leftist daily Pagina 12 saw it causing “commotion in the United States.”

And Some Commentary Elsewhere…

Trump’s conviction made headlines around the world – from influential pan-Arab TV channels like the Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya to India’s newspaper of record, The Times of India. Much of this reporting was neutral, but some have echoed Trump’s criticisms of American institutions. On CNN Turk, for example, guests suggested the US judicial system was “rigged” and that “the judge and the jury are biased.” One caption on the channel repeated a well-known trope voiced by Trump supporters, asking: “Did the US Deep State block Trump?” On social media, Iranians who support Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the last Shah of Iran, condemned the verdict, saying “globalists and leftists are doing all in their power to hold back Trump from becoming US president again.” But the pro-government news website in Azerbaijan wrote: “The insensitivity of American voters even to the criminal conviction of a presidential candidate suggests that the country has reached the brink – there is nowhere to go further.”

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By Sondre Borg Writer
I'm Sondre Borg, but you can call me Sondre. I'm a cheerful Norwegian Digital Nomad and writer, ready to embark on exciting adventures through words and pixels! 🌍✍️
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