Trump tries to limit damage

Following fierce criticism of his statements during a press conference with Vladimir Putin the US president has backpedalled, saying that he hadn't mean to say that there had been no Russian interference in the US election campaign. Will this "slip-up" in Helsinki have fateful consequences for Trump and his party?

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Payback for loss of face in elections

The US president has become a liability for his own party, Gazeta Wyborcza writes:

“In the collective consciousness of the Americans, Russian-American summits were always events that underscored the global role played by their country. During the press conference with President Putin, which was broadcast around the world, Trump showed he couldn't live up to such expectations. This loss of face will become a problem above all for the Republicans, who will be competing with the Democrats in the midterm congressional elections, in November.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Republicans must put an end to Trump's excesses

The Republicans should take a clear stance, Berlingske urges:

“Not surprisingly, Trump's statements have sparked fierce reactions in the US. Former CIA director John Brennan asked on Twitter: 'Republican patriots: Where are you?' Brennan hit the nail on the head with his tweet. The Republican Party - and not just well-known Trump critics like John McCain - must defend the country's institutions and stop Trump's attempt to create a parallel reality. For example it was very appropriate that Trump supporter Newt Gingrich described the meeting as the president's 'most serious mistake'.”

Ria Novosti (RU) /

US president scoring thanks to hysteria

The harsh criticism of the US president will bring his supporters out in force, Ria Novosti predicts:

“In view of the media's reaction and the policy at the summit you would think that all America is ready to rise up in a joint outcry against 'Trump the traitor'. But you would be wrong. For many Americans the media hysteria has provoked laughter and even relief: when the establishment so hated by the voters gets into such a fury about the actions of the head of state that means the president is doing everything right. ... And when US Senator Lindsey Graham takes the hysteria to absurd levels and demands that the World Cup ball presented by Putin to Trump be checked for spying devices, he makes an utter fool of himself.”

The New York Times (US) /

Putin's accomplice for a long time now

Trump's obsequiousness vis-à-vis Putin shouldn't surprise anyone, writes The New York Times:

“It's always been obvious that Trump does not hold Russia's hacking of the 2016 election, which he publicly encouraged and gleefully benefited from, against Putin. None of us yet know the exact contours of Trump's relationship with Russia, whether Putin is his handler, his co-conspirator or just his hero. But it's clear that Trump is willing to sell out American democracy for personal gain. After all, on July 27, 2016, he publicly called for Russia to find Clinton's emails, and, thanks to Friday's indictments, we now know Russia started trying to hack the domain used by her personal office that very day. Trump's collusion with Russia has always been out in the open, daring us to recognize what's in front of our faces.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Professional vs. amateur

The meeting between Putin and Trump served to show which of the two leaders is more professional, The Irish Times comments:

“As the two men stood side by side, the Russian was every inch the experienced politician, a former KGB operative who has retained an authoritarian grip of his country for 18 years. In calm, controlled tones, he opened the press conference, commanding ownership of the narrative. In contrast, Trump exposed himself as the inexperienced amateur that he is, taking his cue from the Russian president and rambling from point to point.”

Evenimentul Zilei (RO) /

Easy prey for the Kremlin boss

The US president has made a fool of himself, security expert Iulian Chifu writes in Evenimentul Zilei:

“Trump has shot own goals, he has made the institutions that he, as President of the United States, is responsible for look ridiculous and explicitly voiced his trust and even admiration for the Russian system and its institutions to the detriment of his own intelligence services. ... At this summit America has been forced to its knees by its own president - he is entangled in election campaign logic and the legally culpable relationships that he and his team maintained with Putin's Russia. Trump was easy prey for Putin, who never felt challenged even for a single moment.”

Sme (SK) /

How Trump ticks

International politics is not serious business for Trump, Sme observes:

“Trump no longer describes Russia as an enemy, but as a competitor. In so doing he has illustrated perfectly how he views international politics: as a game, a competition in which you score points to receive public applause. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But basically all you have to do is stay in a good mood and enjoy the game. That may well work out for Trump. At some point he'll wave goodbye, leave the White House and look for another pastime. For us non-multimillionaires who are left behind, it could end in disaster.”

Lapin Kansa (FI) /

At least no further confrontation

Lapin Kansa, by contrast, seems almost relieved after the summit:

“The most important success of the meeting is probably that thanks to it the global situation - probably - hasn't worsened. Putin and Trump parted on amicable terms, or at least seemed to. But it's wrong to talks of a 'spirit of Helsinki', especially in historical terms. The concept was introduced 40 years ago during the negotiations on the Helsinki Accords [trans-bloc conferences on security and cooperation in Europe]. ... Now such a spirit is lacking even though it would have been needed: the global situation is as tense as it was back then.”

Echo of Moscow (RU) /

A meeting between two egoists

Political scientist Liliya Shevzova explains in her blog in Echo of Moscow why the summit didn't produce any results worth mentioning:

“It's not just the lack of (above all shared economic) interests between the US and Russia or of a common political agenda and harmony in terms of strategic visions. It's also the fact that both leaders are incapable of making compromises that would undermine their leadership. If Trump agrees to sign a deal with Putin he will be accused of betraying US interests. If Putin agrees to give up a position he loses face and the Terminator aura he has so painstakingly constructed for himself.”

Právo (CZ) /

Europe a political lightweight

The meeting between Trump and Putin has demonstrated Europe's growing vulnerability, Právo believes:

“Trump showed in Helsinki that he prefers to talk with the heavyweights of world politics. Apart from Russia, this class certainly includes China. But not Europe. To be such a heavyweight, Europe would need to show more agreement on the speed and extent of integration, and reach a consensus on migration and joint security and defence. And, paradoxically, it must do more to emancipate itself from the US. ... Europe's vulnerability is increasing, decisions about Europe can be taken behind Europe's back. That was the clear message of Trump's 'European week' that ended in Helsinki.”