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Press review Swiss media wary of the Trump presidency

Not so stellar: The start of Trump’s presidency, say editorials in the Swiss media


The next four years will be tough – at least for journalists – predicts a Swiss daily newspaper on the first Monday of Donald Trump’s presidency. Three days after his inauguration, several Swiss newspapers commented on the first hours in office for the 45th president of the United States.

“For reporters that take their watchdog duty seriously, the next four years will be long and tough,” Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger wrote in an editorial on Monday. The paper referred to coverage of attendance figures for Friday’s inauguration and the subsequent women’s marches around the world, and to the content and tone of a speech that Trump gave at the US spy agency CIA’s headquarters on Saturday. 

“It was one of those ‘verbal debris’ speeches which Trump is known and notorious for, and which now threaten us for the next four years,” said the newspaper, which called Trump a narcissist for failing to acknowledge the fallen CIA agents honoured on the memorial he was speaking in front of. 

Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung commented on Sean Spicer’s first news conference as the new White House press secretary. Spicer used the occasion to berate journalists and to offer incorrect explanations for the crowd sizes, but took no questions from the press. The NZZ said that Spicer asserted “against all reason and evidence” that the number of inauguration spectators was greater than ever before. 

“This can only fall into the category of doublethink from George Orwell’s novel 1984. Even Fox News, normally at Trump’s feet, had to confirm ‘Trump is wrong’. We can fear that this sentence will be heard many times in the next years,” the NZZ wrote in its editorial on Monday.

‘Group therapy’ 

Millions of Americans do not want Trump to be president, the Tribune de Genève declared, adding that the Women’s March on Washington – emulated in simultaneous demonstrations around the world on Saturday – had taken on an air of a “counter-inauguration”.

“It has given a picture of what would have been the celebration for a woman entering the White House, had Hillary Clinton not been beaten by Donald Trump,” the Geneva newspaper said. 

However, its editorial pointed out that the protests of about one million people around the world also showed the strategic error made by the former Secretary of State [Clinton]. It said she “spent the bulk of her time during the election campaign discrediting her opponent but forgot to speak to Americans who just wanted to be listened to and to get excited and inspired by her candidature”. 

“This counter-inauguration has had the effect of ‘group therapy’ for the demonstrators, who have expressed their need to attach their opposition to the new president en masse,” it continued. “But it also bears witness to the desire of millions of Americans to respond to Trump if he attacks health insurance, environmental protection or the rights of women or minorities.” 

The paper concluded: “In this context, the 45th president of the United States can continue to deny the reality of this resistance to his policies and his personality, but the fact remains that the man and woman on the street are already counting the days until the next legislative elections in November 2018.” 

Danger to Switzerland? 

In an interview with Blick Online on Monday, Switzerland’s president, Doris Leuthard, commented on Trump’s pro-protectionist trade views. Switzerland’s economy depends on strong exports. “Depending on how the concrete measures look, it will hurt the global economy as well as Switzerland,” she said. Trump, however, seems to be aware of his great responsibility, she said, noting that a political campaign is different from holding political office. 

“If he continues to behave as he did during the campaign, then we have to worry. But it’s deeds, not statements, that are decisive,” said Leuthard. As head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communicationsexternal link, Leuthard holds the presidency that rotates each year among a seven-member ministerial cabinet.

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