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Trump's Address to Congress: Here's What Foreign Press Made of It

Donald Trump's first speech to Congress was closely watched around the world.
Image: President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump reacts after delivering his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.JIM LO SCALZO / POOL / EPA

Donald Trump's first speech to Congress was closely watched around the world. Here's what overseas media outlets made of it early Tuesday.

Great Britain

Opinion was divided in the U.K., where Prime Minister Theresa May is eager to forge closer ties with the U.S. as it prepares to depart from the European Union.

A columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper called the speech a “heroic effort in contradiction and cliché.”

“The president’s first address to Congress was full of inconsistency when compared to his words and deeds in the White House,” Richard Wolffe wrote in a scathing piece on the paper’s website.

Writing in Britain's conservative Telegraph newspaper, Rob Crilly declared that Trump found "his presidential voice and manages the unthinkable — a conventional speech.”


Newspapers in Mexico — which has been at the receiving end of many of the new president’s threats and promised policy changes — highlighted Trump’s statements on migration.

La Reforma ran the president’s pledges to make migration merit-based as the top story on its website.

The president told Congress that he was open to immigration reform, a shift from his harsh rhetoric.

In a conversation with TV anchors earlier in the day, Trump signaled a willingness to make a potentially seismic shift in his immigration policy by saying the "time is right" for a bipartisan immigration bill that could include a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants who have not committed serious crimes.

It was a remarkable suggestion from Trump, whose signature campaign promise was to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico and pledged to crack down on undocumented immigrants currently in the country. Trump's supporters rallied behind his hard-line stance and hammered his Republican rivals for taking softer takes on the issue.

Mexico’s left-leaning La Jornada, meanwhile, highlighted Trump’s announcement that he would unveil an "aggressive strategy to dismantle the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation."


Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov commented on Trump's remark that America would "look for new friends."

"We're waiting for statements to be followed by some actions that would show what we actually can expect concerning the prospects of U.S.-Russian bilateral relations," he said.

[Areas of mutual interest] "are a separate, and quite broad, topic for discussion," Peskov added.

The relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign and then administration has been under intense scrutiny. During his campaign, Trump said he was open to better relations with Moscow, but recent allegations that members his team communicated with Russia have dogged the young presidency.


The take in Germany — a key U.S. ally and mainstay of the NATO military alliance that the new president has criticized — was muted.

During the speech Tuesday night, Trump pledged to "strongly support NATO," adding that "our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead."

“It was more a wish list than clear political strategy which Trump presented in Congress," according to an article that ran on public broadcaster ZDF's website. It referred to "his dark inauguration speech" but said the the president "spoke in a disciplined and calm [manner]" on Tuesday night.

German weekly magazine Der Spiegel — which has been scathing of Trump in recent months — declared that he “sounds more presidential, but he is not really leaving his path."


English-language media, which has displayed increasingly nationalistic sentiments in recent months, ran neutral news agency stories stressing the “America First” nature of Trump’s address, and the president’s promises on immigration and fighting terrorism.


Israeli media appeared heartened by Trump's opening remarks, in which he condemned anti-Semitic threats against Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in the U.S.

"Adopting softer tone Trump hails 'new national pride,' condemns anti-Semitism," ran a headline in Israel's i24 news.

The Times of Israel ran the headline "Trump wins cautious praise after speaking out on anti-Semitism."

Trump had been previously criticized for not condemning the recent spate of anti-Semitic acts.


Trump's relatively more reserved tone left some in the Italian media scratching their heads about the future direction of his presidency.

Writing in La Repubblica, Vittorio Zucconi said: “Which of the two Trumps who spoke last night in Washington is the real Trump?"

"Is he the man who seriously, and without a wit suitable for Reality TV, spoke for the first half hour? ... Or is is the rally speaker who fell back into the empty, aggressive nationalistic rhetoric that brought him to the White House?"

A president with a "split personality" was born Tuesday night, he continued, adding: "Only time will tell which President Trump will be."