From Caracas To Pyongyang, Endorsing U.S. Candidates From Abroad
If foreign endorsements are any reflection of the quality of the U.S. presidential campaign, we are most certainly doomed.
Democrat Bernie Sanders, who is facing a do-or-die party primary in California on June 7, got the helpful support of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The Latin American leader, himself facing angry calls for his ouster, has presided over an economic crisis in which his government has shuttered schools as well as cut water, electricity and phone service. Venezuela's El Universal reports that the embattled president referred to Sanders, the self-declared socialist senator from Vermont, as "our revolutionary friend."
"If the elections were free, Sanders would be president of the United States â€¦ because the people are looking for a change," said Maduro, who knows a thing or two about people looking for a change.
Back on the campaign trail in California, Sanders could hardly be blamed for quietly ignoring the endorsement.
A day later, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump got a stellar endorsement from another quarter of the globe. North Korea — that bastion of democratic values — backed Trump, with propaganda website DPRK Today praising him as "not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is," but "actually a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate."
Well, if North Korea said it, it must be true.
Ahead of the final round of primaries on Tuesday, here's Worldcrunch"s roundup of what newspapers around the globe are saying about the upcoming U.S. elections from the UK to India and Italy and beyond.
Across the Atlantic, Trump has elicited strong reactions from Britons.
Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist and possibly one of the most intelligent human beings on the planet, said even he couldn't explain the meteoric political rise of Trump. "I can't," Hawking told ITV's Good Morning Britain program. "He is a demagogue, who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator."
Others in the UK have been less charitable. "Britain needs a @realDonaldTrump visit like it needs a bucket of cold sick," wrote Sarah Wollaston, a senior lawmaker, on her Twitter page, after the Republican firebrand announced plans to visit the UK to open a golf course there this month.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, a conservative who nevertheless described Trump last year as "divisive, stupid and wrong," has no plans to meet Trump during his visit, Britain's Daily Mail reports.
Other world leaders are taking a wait-and-see approach. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who ran on an "India first" platform well before Trump launched his "America first" campaign, declined, in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, to challenge the Republican candidate's proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. "As a part of the election debate many things will be said there, who ate what, who drank what, how can I respond to everything?" The Hindu quoted Modi as saying.
Others in India are feeling less generous toward Trump, who during a recent campaign rally used a faux Indian accent to mock call center employees. "The accent wasn't even done well," Indian newspaper DNA grumbled.
Devils in details
Considering Trump's vitriol about Mexicans and vows to build a "big wall" at the southern border of the U.S., there is no shortage of coverage from Latin America. But this past week, Chile's La Tercera decided instead to dig deep into a profile of Huma Abedin, a longtime aide of leading Democrat Hillary Clinton, and wife of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
It is just the latest sign of how close the world is following the battle for the White House. In Spain, for example, El País reports that establishment Republicans are slowly but surely lining up behind Trump. The latest convert is House speaker Paul Ryan, the highest ranking Republican official. But there are "final holdouts", including Mitt Romney, the party's last presidential nominee, who may want to challenge Trump by fielding a third-party candidate in the November general election. Names being discussed include Romney himself, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, New Mexico Governor Susana Martínez, and David French, an Iraq war veteran and National Review columnist.
Apple Daily, a publication in Taiwan and Hong Kong, offered some long-distance punditry, asking whether former U.S. president Bill Clinton was a help or hindrance in wife Hillary's campaign.
Mio Amico Trump?
In Italy, the U.S. campaign was an opportunity for a minor cat-fight between some of the country's top politicians. Back in April, leader of Italy's right-wing Northern League party Matteo Salvini boasted of 20-minute private meeting with Donald Trump, sharing a photo on Twitter.
But Trump told the Hollywood Reporter last week that he hadn't met Salvini, and distanced himself from the often racist stances of the Italian politician. The photo of the two together? Apparently Trump was just posing with an unknown fan. Rome daily La Repubblica gathered some glee from Salvini's political opponents "Wow, what a slap," mocked Simona Malpezzi of the Italian Democratic party.
Trump meanwhile is featured ominously this week on the cover of Italian weekly Internazionale:
Some are exploring alternatives to frontrunners Trump and Clinton. Les Échos, France's leading financial newspaper, covered the presidential bid of third-party Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico. With the charismatic campaign slogan "I tell the truth, I am not a liar," Johnson says his party is more culturally liberal than the Democratic Party but more fiscally conservative than the GOP. It's unclear if the Libertarian party is any clearer to French readers than it is in the U.S.
An altogether different take came from China, where some are already profiting from a potential Trump win. Chinese company Jinhua Partytime Latex Art and Crafts Factory, is already manufacturing creepy masks of the Republican leader's face. The carnival of the two party conventions are just around the corner.