From around the world, the headlines were brutal.
“Best ally of Putin,” said Tuesday’s front page of France’s sober-minded Le Monde.
“Trump makes it easy for Putin,” echoed German’s Die Welt.
“Trump 0, Putin 1,” said the business daily Kauppalehti in Helsinki, the Finnish capital where Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump met and held a news conference Monday.
The city’s name suddenly became shorthand for what was widely described as a very bad day for the U.S. president.
Traditional U.S. allies in Europe, having already absorbed a blast of criticism from Trump at last week’s NATO summit in Brussels, were dismayed anew by his seeming show of solidarity with Putin over the issue of election interference by Moscow.
European elections also have been hit by Russian cyberattacks, which previously have drawn strong pushback from leaders like France’s President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper, in its lead headline on the Helsinki meeting, rolled out the T-word — “treasonous” — albeit in quotes. One of Italy’s leading dailies, Corriere della Sera, summarized Putin’s stance that there was “zero interference” in the 2016 U.S. vote and added flatly: “Trump believes him.”
Bright reviews, not surprisingly, came in Russia, where Putin’s performance alongside Trump was hailed as a national triumph. The state-run newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta trumpeted: “The West’s attempts to isolate Russia failed.”
Other news outlets focused on national or regional interests in assessing the Putin-Trump news conference. Israel has grown increasingly alarmed about the presence of Iranian forces and allied militias in Syria. The Jerusalem Post noted praise for Israel, while saying the two leaders “diverge on Syria and Iran.”
In Germany, where Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had weighed in Monday with a statement saying, “We can no longer fully rely on the White House,” some newspapers framed the summit as a meeting of minds — and one at odds with the European consensus. “Summit of the autocrats,” said the business daily Handelsblatt.
Some stuck with a more straightforward approach in news coverage but paired that with scathing commentary.
The Irish Times, in a news story, cited a “barrage of US criticism” over Helsinki. But in a separate opinion piece by Washington-based columnist Suzanne Lynch, it called Trump’s performance “humiliating,” saying that the news conference “shows a rambling, inexperienced and amateur US president.”
In Finland’s Nordic neighbor Sweden, the largest-selling daily, Hufvudstadsbladet, featured a picture of Putin smiling alongside Trump. The headline read, “Trump was my favorite.”