Following the final US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Swiss media were shocked and alarmed at the Republican nominee’s declaration that he may not accept the election’s outcome, calling it an “earthquake” that endangers American democracy.
“Trump crossed a political Rubicon last night in Las Vegas, also to the detriment of his party,” argued the German-language Tages-Anzeiger newspaper. “The only question remaining is to what extent the Republican majority in Congress will be dragged into the wake of Trump’s defeat.”
The French-language Le Temps newspaper argued that Trump’s response of “I’ll keep you in suspense” when asked whether he would accept the election outcome “provoked an earthquake felt overseas” because “for the first time, a candidate for the White House placed the electoral process into question”.
The Blick tabloid called that moment the “headline of the debate” and the French-language public broadcaster RTS said it “broke a taboo” in the democratic system. The RTS radio correspondent in the United States tweeted that “by refusing to say that he will accept the election result, Trump lost all legitimacy of being able to participate in this democratic debate.”
For its part, the Geneva-based Tribune de Genève newspaper pointed out how ugly the campaign has become given that Trump said less than a month ago that he “would absolutely support” Clinton if she wins the election.
Most Swiss media outlets agreed that Trump appeared more measured and controlled during the first half hour of Wednesday’s exchange. But the moment he placed the election results in question, argued the Tribune de Genève, Trump “overshadowed a more disciplined performance” in the debate and “pushed the United States a bit closer towards a possible political crisis”.
The debate over the election results begins at 6 minutes, 54 seconds in the video below.
swissinfo.ch with agencies