Headlines about the first televised debate between U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were predominate in much of the world’s media outlets Tuesday, with many largely opining that Clinton came up trumps.
European press, in particular, lauded Clinton for her “poise” and being “calm” and “well-prepared” for the debate. Left-leaning UK newspaper The Guardian led with the headline, “Clinton calm as Trump struggles on issues of racism, sexism and foreign policy.” It said the “candidates had several heated exchanges and Clinton landed several big blows including on Trump’s taxes and ‘racist behavior’ regarding birtherism.” Right-leaning Brit paper The Telegraph said the debate, which was likely watched by more than 100 million people on U.S. TVs, “revealed Donald Trump’s limitations.”
“This was a lesson in the limits of Trump the entertainer,” wrote Ruth Sherlock. “Under the glare of the lights on the debate stage at Hofstra University, Donald Trump faltered. The debate format, in which each candidate was given two whole minutes to answer a question, did not lend itself to fast quips.” She added that Trump “rambled and struggled” to make clear points.
German paper Der Spiegel dubbed the Republican nominee “erratic and uncertain” while France’s center-left paper Le Monde said Trump “drowned in his own speeches.” France’s Le Figaro, which leans center-right, claimed Clinton had managed to “destabilize her opponent” in the first debate.
A number of Brit headlines including The Telegraph, Daily Mail, the Independent and The Times all pointed to Clinton branding Trump a “racist,” and the concern amongst much of the continent’s business world and left-leaning media was that a Trump presidency would have detrimental ramifications across the world.
However, Guardian political commentator Jill Abramson said that while Trump was “rude,” “Clinton came off as too pleased with herself and failed, once again, to deliver a digestible vision of how she would change the country.” But she added that if Clinton’s “intention was to let Trump asphyxiate himself, mission accomplished.”
Piers Morgan, who counts himself as a “friend” of Trump, couldn’t help but get his two cents in on his UK morning talk show Good Morning Britain, which he co-hosts with Susanna Reid. Morgan credited himself with Clinton’s performance on the debate. “She obviously read my column yesterday urging her not to trade punches and not to back down,” he said, referring to his regular column in the Daily Mail.
Italian press such as Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica newspapers pointed to the issues that riled the candidates the most during the debate such as “employment, the economy, racial tensions and terrorism” with the latter indicating that neither candidate fought hard enough to earn “the knockout blow.”
Meanwhile in Russia, the country’s TV channel Rossiya 1 claimed “Russia was one of the key topics” of the debate and independent newspaper Nesavisimaya Gazeta claimed Trump appeals to Russian sympathizers in the U.S., who “like his proposal to restrict the access of illegal migrants to the country.”
Iranian state TV highlighted the candidates’ take on Iran’s nuclear issue while Qatar’s Al-Jazeera focused on comments made on the Middle East region, saying that Trump attempted to blame Clinton for the “failure” of U.S.-Middle Eastern policies and had therefore caused “chaos in the region.”