In a major speech to accept the US Republican nomination for president, the New York real estate tycoon laid out his vision – and Swiss editorial writers reacted with criticism, uneasiness and cynicism.
The French-language newspaper Le Temps in Geneva noted in its online edition the “apocalyptic" nature of the US Republican presidential nominee’s 75-minute speech assessing America’s place in the world.
In his speech claiming the Republican nomination on Thursday night after four days of convention, the newspaper described Trump as “stoking the fears and anger of Americans in a proven populist vein, while portraying himself as an authoritarian leader who can restore order and security in a country that is plagued by violence”.
Keep them scared
“The nation’s miracle healer” declared the headline in the online edition of Tages-Anzeiger in Zurich. “Donald Trump paints a bleak picture of the state of the United States – and rightly so. But a messiah he ain’t.”
Four of Trump’s five children took to the convention stage in Cleveland, with daughter Ivanka introducing her father to the roaring crowd. She focused on his humanity, but Trump himself went on to “paint the world like Hieronymus Bosch: highly dangerous, gruesome and gone off the rails”, the paper said, referring to the 16th-century Dutch artist who specialised in depicting human sin and moral failings.
“Criminality and criminal, illegal immigrants, terror and the collapsing Middle East – everything that keeps Americans awake at night Trump laid out in front of them.”
US society is fraying, wages are stagnating for many Americans, life expectancy for working-class whites and the lower-middle classes is dropping – these are all valid criticisms, the Tages-Anzeiger reckoned, “but Trump overdid it, because he has to overdo it: the more he can scare voters, the better his chances are in November”.
Watch the full speech here:
Noting that Trump had said that under his leadership the US would be a country of “generosity and warmth” but also of “law and order”, the paper said Richard Nixon couldn’t have put it better.
But Trump had broken the mould for presidential candidates of a major party, it added. “Since yesterday the Republican Party has been headed by a businessman and entertainer, an egomaniac who previously backed abortion and called for a state healthcare system for all Americans.”
Trump’s strategy is clear, the Tages-Anzeiger concluded. “If he succeeds in enticing white Democrats from the lower and middle classes and increasing voter turnout among whites significantly, in November he could pick up traditionally Democrat states like Pennsylvania and Michigan. That might be enough to give him the keys to the White House.”
If that happens, he would take the US on a roller coaster ride, it said.
On Thursday night Trump said the US couldn’t afford to be so politically correct anymore. “What exactly the Republican candidate meant by that, the world could soon find out,” the paper said.
‘State of siege’
The picture painted by Trump was also bleak for the art critic/editorialist of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ).
“He promised a remedy but without going into the details of how he would accomplish it,” the paper said. “He portrayed the US as a country in a state of siege: threatened by ‘Islamic terrorists’ and sophisticated manipulators from abroad and criminals at home, a country that had been betrayed and forgotten by the elite”.
For the NZZ, the only common theme of the four-day convention was the rejection – “and to a large part contempt for” – probable Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump accused her on Thursday of total failure as Secretary of State and dishonesty towards her fellow Americans. The NZZ was struck that in response to chants of “Lock her up!”, Trump said he would simply defeat her in four months.