Viewpoints: What the World Thinks About Donald Trump

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump—who leads the other candidates by about 20 points—released a statement on Dec. 7 calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." The more incendiary and xenophobic his rhetoric gets, the higher his numbers seem to climb. With the exception of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has praised him, most of the world has expressed outrage at Trump's comments. presents a sampling of global press coverage surrounding this controversial figure.

Russia – TASS (Russian News Agency), Dec 17: Vladimir Putin said he considers Donald Trump to be the absolute leader of the U.S. presidential race and simply a talented person. "He is a bright and talented person without any doubt. He is the absolute leader of the presidential race," Putin told journalists.

IsraelThe Jerusalem Post, Dec. 16: The online bickering between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his fellow billionaire Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal over Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigration is steeped with irony: For decades, Saudi Arabia has had a near-total ban on granting visas to Jews. … Israeli citizens are explicitly barred from receiving Saudi visas, as are all would-be visitors who even have an Israeli stamp in their passports.

United Kingdom – The Guardian, Dec. 18: Donald Trump, in between his calls for banning Muslims here at home, also called on American forces to commit war crimes by killing the families of terrorists. His meaningless calls to "bomb the shit out of ISIS" naturally have led all the other candidates to trip over each other in an attempt to find more and more colorful adjectives to describe how their bombs would look.

Canada – The Star, Dec. 13: Trump does best with men age 45 to 64, with a high school diploma or less, making less than $50,000 per year. These are the very same people hurt worst by the global recession, slowest to experience the recovery, and most vulnerable to wage competition from unauthorized workers. They're easy to ridicule as ignorant xenophobes. Most Trump supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim, that Muslims are a threat, that all illegal immigrants should be deported, that anti-white racism is as big a problem as anti-black racism. But then there's this telling figure from October: 71 percent think the "American dream"—work hard, get ahead—used to exist but has vanished.

AustraliaThe Age, Dec. 19: Four years before the outbreak of World War I, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt met Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II. The meeting, recorded in Stephen Kotkin's? biography of Stalin, left Roosevelt with a premonition of the looming global catastrophe. He told his wife, "I'm absolutely certain now. We're all in for it." Donald Trump is the Kaiser Wilhelm of our time. Shallow, arrogant and belligerent would sum up both men. Wilhelm scorned democracy in the way Trump scorns political correctness as an impediment to clear thinking and immediate solutions. "I regard every Social Democrat as an enemy of the Empire and Fatherland," thundered the Kaiser. He was similarly dismissive of criticism: "I look on myself as an instrument of the Almighty and go on my way regardless of transient opinions and views."

Pakistan – Dawn, Dec. 10: Trump did not invent Islamophobia in the United States. In a Pew research poll from last year, which asked people to rate different religions from zero to 100—with higher numbers suggesting more positive feelings—Islam came last with 40, just behind atheists (41), and way down among Republican voters (33). … The fact that his xenophobic binge has done little to damage his status among the Republican faithful says a great deal about the party. But the narrow question of what these outbursts do to his electoral prospects is secondary to the damage they are clearly doing to American political life.

Turkey – Hurriyet Daily News, Dec. 13: A Dubai real estate firm has restored Donald Trump's name on a $6 billion golf complex it is building with the U.S. businessman and presidential hopeful, days after taking it down following his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. … Gold letters spelling out "Trump International Golf Club," affixed to a landscaped stone wall at the entrance to the golf complex being built by DAMAC Properties, were removed on Thursday, according to a Reuters photographer. Two days later they had been restored. DAMAC declined to comment on Dec. 13 on the brief removal.

Taiwan – China Post, Dec 13: On either side of the Atlantic, the 2008 recession, refugee crises and heightened terror threats have fueled an isolationist populism embodied by Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, but they are far from mirror images. Their most striking common points: Both feed off voter disaffection for the traditional ruling class, and have adopted stridently anti-immigrant positions and fear-mongering that hardened in the wake of attacks in Paris and California. … Like Le Pen, Trump blames some of his nation's economic woes on a foreign invasion—a message encapsulated by his promise to build a wall on the Mexico border, and which resonates with America's working classes, millions of whom are yet to recover from the financial crisis.