After President Donald Trump's two-hour-long summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, media around the world highlighted Trump's news conference statements through a pair of blistering lenses. On Tuesday, newspapers abroad ran different headlines with different photographs, but their assessments appeared to mostly be on the same page: European newspaper headlines blasted the Trump and Putin summit and the president's willingness to back the Russian president over his own intelligence community.
Trump had refused to support various United States government agencies' findings that Russia had inserted itself into the 2016 presidential election and interfered with results. Instead, the president plainly embraced Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denial during his joint press conference. This led to widespread condemnation from Democrats as well as from his own party. For instance, in reaction to Trump's performance, Republican Senator John McCain said, “President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”
On Tuesday, the U.K. tabloid Daily Mirror ran the Trump-Putin summit on its front page, and took that criticism to a whole new level by characterizing Trump as "Putin's poodle." The paper also quoted former CIA Director John Brennan, who called the president's words "nothing short of treasonous," according to CNN.
In France, the newspaper Le Monde splashed its front page with, "Donald Trump, best of allies with Vladimir Putin," according to CNN.
In the same country that hosted the summit between the two world leaders, the Finnish newspaper Kauppalehti presented a headline that played on the very thing sweeping the world's attention just the day before: soccer. Its headline read: "Trump 0 - Putin 1," underneath a photograph of Trump holding the soccer ball gift that Putin had presented to him. The summit took place one day after the World Cup came to an end, with Russia acting as the host this year. Putin had pointed out that the United States (along with Mexico and Canada) would host the tournament in 2026 and used the opportunity to give Trump the ball. Trump had accepted with a smile before tossing it to his wife in the front row, saying the ball would go to his 12-year-old son Barron.
In Austria, headlines followed the same vein. The newspaper Kurier featured a front page picture of Trump and Putin shaking hands with the headline, "Suddenly Best Friends" while another paper Die Presse went with "The Bizarre Trump and Putin Show" above a photo of the soccer ball gifting.
In Germany, which has repeatedly been a target in the president's verbal attacks, the most recent of which was at the NATO summit, headlines persisted. According to a DW News correspondent, the newspaper Handelblatt led with, "Summit of the Autocrats," as the outlet Die Welt ran the headline, "Trump makes it easy for Putin." The newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine was a bit more reserved, trading snarky for direct quote: "Trump lauds 'productive summit.'"
A bit north of Germany, the Swedish newspaper HBL also chose to go with a direct quote, though this one's goal seemed to be to highlight the relationship between the two. According to CNN's Jake Tapper, the headline reads, "Putin: Trump is my favorite" underneath a photo of the Russian president smiling next to Trump.
European media certainly had an opinion on the post-summit appearance of the two world leaders' relationship, though they weren't the only ones. News outlets across Latin America and Asia had a take as well, though those mostly pale in comparison to the ones at home; some of the harshest ones came from the president's own country, a signal that the summit opened up a can of worms that White House staff will likely be cleaning for a while to come.