Hillary Clinton 1: Donald Trump 0. That’s the verdict of many major media outlets outside the U.S. after Monday night’s presidential debate, with international stock markets making early gains on the back of the result.
“Clinton gets under Trump’s skin in first presidential debate,” Britain’s Financial Times said Tuesday morning, adding that the duel “saw a disciplined Mrs. Clinton confront an often rambling Mr. Trump.” On the newspaper’s website, commentator Edward Luce’s assessment of the matchup was headlined: “Trump fails to clear a low-debate bar.”
“Who won the first debate?” the BBC asked. “It was a battle between the lawyer and the salesman, and for the most part the lawyer came out on top,” Anthony Lurcher, the BBC’s North American reporter, wrote. Other U.K. media almost unanimously called the first U.S. presidential debate for Hillary Clinton with some more right-wing newspapers opting not to commit to stating a winner. The Daily Express called it a “shock loss” for Donald Trump. The Independent said: “Donald Trump’s laziness led to complacency and that’s where Hillary Clinton won the first presidential debate.”
In France, Le Monde declared: “Hillary Clinton dominates the first debate.” The paper said that Trump “was increasingly out of his depth when he spoke, wasting opportunities to make his opponent ill at ease,” especially on the issue of Clinton’s private email server, “a topic he sped through in three mere phrases while instead getting mired in a thousand details when it come to his own controversial issues.”
Elsewhere in Europe, Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper said: “Trump doesn’t bite, Hillary attacks. The duel is a success for the Democrat….The Republican avoided a brawl to appear presidential; he was more incisive on foreign policy, but the former Secretary of State made him look bad on not disclosing his tax return; on racism; and on women.”
The debate was keenly watched throughout Asia, where the U.S. is variously seen as protector, leading trading partner, and an economic and political rival. The debate took place mid-morning Tuesday in the region, meaning that it missed printed editions of the morning newspapers.
Online, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post led with the debate and took its own angle. Under the headline “Cybersecurity, terrorism, trade and nuclear threats…why the U.S. presidential debate could not ignore China,” it counted up how many times China was referenced by the two candidates. According to its score card, Trump mentioned China nine times, Clinton three.
It noted that Trump accused China of unfair trade and damaging America jobs, and saying that China should solve the North Korean nuclear security problem. But Trump also praised China’s airports.
During the debate Clinton said: “Donald Trump thinks climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.” He denied the accusation during the show, but the paper dug up and published a November 2012 tweet by Trump where he made exactly that charge against China.
Mainland China’s media outlets were more cautious in their reporting, since such political debate is not possible in the one-party state.
The China Radio International and CCTV websites led with stories about President Xi Jinping’s praise for China’s latest rocket system and Premier Li Keqiang’s ongoing visit to Cuba, but did not report the debate. Official news agency Xinhua carried a story about the U.S. debate in its second spot, offering mostly a series of mud-slinging quotes by Trump.
In the U.S.’ backyard, Mexico’s La Razon wrote that the debate offered “no surprises,” but described Clinton as more “eloquent.”
Reuters reported that Clinton’s probability of winning the White House gained in online betting markets. A Clinton contract on the popular PredictIt betting market gained six cents from the previous day’s level.
Nearly all Asia’s equity markets turned modestly positive Tuesday, after a Monday trading session characterized by losses and nerves ahead of the debate. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose by more than 1%, after having fallen a similar amount Monday.
Japan’s business-oriented Nikkei Asian Review called Clinton the clear winner, headlining its lead story: “Bullish Hillary Tamed Trump Face Off In 1st TV debate.” It quoted the Daiwa Capital Markets investment firm as saying that China would lose out more under a Trump presidency than a Clinton administration. “Trump’s proposed 45% tariff on China would lead to a $420 billion, or 87% drop, in the country’s exports to the U.S. Such a decline would lead to a 2.6% annual loss in China’s gross domestic product,” it said.
Nick Vivarelli IN ROME and Robert Mitchell IN LONDON contributed to this report.