Media outlets from Mexico to Montreal, Germany, France, Spain and beyond zeroed in on the long-anticipated news that Donald Trump will become the first current or former U.S. president ever to be charged with a crime.
The news began to spread Thursday afternoon from New York, to all points east and west, north and south: after years of investigations on multiple fronts, former U.S. President Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into alleged hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.
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The specific charges, not yet known, will be revealed with Trump's arraignment expected early next week. But the very fact that Trump will be arrested (replete with finger-printing and a mug shot — and perhaps handcuffs too) filled front pages around the world on Friday, including Colombian daily El Espectador, which featured a blown-up image of a worried-looking Trump, alongside the single word “Tormented."
“Donald Trump, an indictment for history,” titled French newspaper Libération.
El Espectador's Friday front page
One for the history books
German weeklyDer Spiegel, wrote Friday morning: “Donald Trump always wanted to be a prominent historical figure but now he has secured a place in the history books [...]: Trump is the first ex-president in the more than 200-year history of the U.S. to be charged with an alleged criminal offense.”
Le Monde echoed the same spirit, opening its lead item: "Donald Trump enters history through a door he would have preferred to avoid."
Yassin Alalusi, an Iraqi political activist, offered a four-point explainer in Arabic for understanding what the indictment will mean for Trump, and the U.S. He cautioned, among other things, that an indictment by no means guarantees a conviction for the former White House resident, and that the case could even be dismissed before a trial takes place.
Alalusi also notes that the indictment is "likely to generate intense media coverage and further inflame political tensions."
This may ultimately turn out to be DeSantis’s best assist.
This indictment is not only historically relevant, as the real estate tycoon is the leading Republican candidate for the 2024 U.S. elections. “What would this lawsuit mean for Trump's candidacy" is the title of an article by German daily Bild, while Italian newspaper La Repubblica focuses on the implications for Trump’s main Republican opponent Ron De Santis, Governor of Florida.
It's notable that De Santis, like many other Republicans, quickly voiced his support for the former president, saying that Florida will not grant a possible request for extradition of Trump, who lives in the state.
Yassin Alalusi via Twitter
"The first indicted president in history," reads Italian daily La Repubblica
Much ado about nothing?
“This may ultimately turn out to be DeSantis’s best assist: on the one hand, he will present himself as Trump's defender, and he will please the party's radical base. On the other, the indictment of his rival is likely to penalize and ultimately alienate moderate voters, who view the former president with suspicion,” writes La Repubblica. “Spending the next few months with an indicted candidate, and with probably new details of the indictment gathered by prosecutors, risks weakening the whole Party.”
Top Mexican newspaper El Universal published an editorial entitled “Trump victimizes himself and got the show he wanted: for now," recalling Trump’s stated desire that he would turn any arrest into a spectacle to incite his supporters.
“Will he turn this investigation into a show?” is also the question of Italian daily La Stampa, while Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulonotes that there are no signs that the indictment will stop him from running, which is something that instead could happen if Trump is convicted in another ongoing investigation for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol.
It so happens that Trump shared the front page in the Brazilian media Friday with the South American country's own embattled former president, Jair Bolsonaro, who returned to Brazil on Thursday for the first time after losing the elections to Lula da Silva and facing his own set of accusations for inciting his supporters to launch an assault in Brasilia on government targets.