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People Around World React to First Trump-Clinton Debate

  • Associated Press

A man watches a TV screen showing the live broadcast of the U.S. presidential debate between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 27, 20

A man watches a TV screen showing the live broadcast of the U.S. presidential debate between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 27, 20

Views from around the world on Monday's first U.S. presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump:


Richard McConochie watched the debate on a big screen in a Canberra pub and said, “To me, Trump aced it.”

“He came across as a man who could control himself. They said Trump's ignorant of the issues. I think he proved that he had at least a working handle on most of the stuff he was talking about.”

“I think he'll swing a lot of Americans over to Trump just by proving that he is not the sort of unstable, dangerous lunatic that he's painted to be,” McConochie said. “I don't see that Trump would be any more incompetent than Clinton.”

Milton Gan, a Sydney-based photographer, said it seemed like Trump was trying to rein in his temper for the first 15 minutes, then went off the rails.

“He started interrupting Clinton, he started interrupting (moderator) Lester (Holt) and he started steamrolling. And you could see he was just getting really irate about everything,” Gan said.

“The most ridiculous thing was at the end when he said he had the better temperament to be president,” Gan said, laughing. “It was just hilarious.”

Clinton came off prepared, confident and composed, Gan said: “Obviously, she's done her prep and she's got so much experience in politics and I think that really showed.”


Timi Soleye, an energy executive, stayed up to watch the debate in the middle of the night at his home in Lagos, Africa's most populous city.

“Clinton has decent policies, I wished she should talk about them and just make her points,” he said. “Attempts to ridicule and characterize Trump policies were distracting in the beginning. And he looked dangerously reasonable at the beginning, but of course he veered off into his trademark semi-unreasonableness.”

Soleye described himself as conservative, but he called Trump's characterization of world economics as a zero-sum game in which America must crush other countries to succeed “disheartening.”

“I sincerely hope he doesn't win,” he said. “It's simply too risky. The man seems unhinged sometimes.”


Valery Akpole Koffi, a customer service representative in Abidjan, thought Trump did a good job of coming across as less aggressive and more precise in his responses.

“He took the lead on foreign affairs, condemning the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Libya,” Koffi said. “He also was reassuring on the issues of employment and tax relief in order to give back hope to Americans.”


Wang Pei, a graduate student in communications studies, watched the debate from a cafe in Beijing and said he thought Clinton carried herself better.

“I personally like Trump's character and the feeling that he's a fighter,” Wang said. “But from today's performance, I think Clinton was more like a mature politician and Trump looked a bit like a misfit in this kind of setting.”


Tim Stanley, a columnist for Britain's conservative Daily Telegraph, said in his column Tuesday that Trump won the debate but may lose the election. He said Trump repeated many of his outrageous campaign statements and defended his earlier questions about whether President Barack Obama was really born in the U.S., but they played well in a debate that should be judged as reality TV.

He said Trump said everything that people who hate Clinton have wanted to say for 30 years.

“In terms of reality TV, he did well,” Stanley wrote. “He harassed, he shouted, he taunted, he talked over. And Clinton let him do it.”

But he said Trump said nothing during the debate to win over non-whites and female voters and did not act particularly presidential.


Sigmar Gabriel, German vice chancellor and head of the Social Democratic Party, told daily newspaper Bild on Tuesday morning that Clinton was the clear winner and that Trump's performance showed striking weaknesses.

“Trump didn't have a plan. Neither for the U.S. nor for the big foreign policy challenges,” Gabriel said. “Clinton convinced with competence and clarity. It was a clear victory for her.”


In this West African country founded by freed black slaves repatriated from the United States in the 19th century, radio talk shows carried lively post-debate discussions.

“With his temperament, America cannot entrust Donald Trump with nuclear weapons,” said David Targbeh, the co-host of the “New Dawn” show. He accused Trump of displaying “his usual racist posture.”

Jusu Freeman, who phoned into the program, said Trump stands a chance because “America does not need a female president.”

But Targbeh countered that, saying: “People made a similar insinuation that America was not ready for a black president. At the end of the day, Barack Obama emerged victorious.”


Narushige Michishita, a Japanese analyst, said it was in some ways heartening to hear his country mentioned in the debate, since Japan is often overlooked these days. But he disagreed with Trump's criticism that Japan and other U.S. allies aren't contributing enough to their defense.

“There is a small truth to what Mr. Trump was saying, in the sense that Japan was a kind of free-rider or at least a cheap-rider back in the 1970s and 80s,” said Michishita, director of the security and international studies program at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.

“But... now given what Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe is doing to make Japan much more proactive on defense and security matters, and trying to make Japan more engaged in international security affairs, it's like, `What are you talking about?’”

Hirotsugu Aida, author of a book on the Trump phenomenon, agreed that Trump misunderstood the U.S.-Japan security alliance but said he still did better than Clinton.

“Trump unexpectedly acted presidential. It might be a setback for Clinton, who wanted to make him look unsuitable for presidency,” he said.


Victor Andres Manhit, president of the think-tank Albert del Rosario Institute for Strategic and International Studies, welcomed Clinton's assurances that the U.S. would honor its treaty obligations if she becomes president.

“I'm really hoping that that kind of statement reminds our own government that we have an ally in the United States vis-a-vis our fight for territorial integrity and our maritime rights in the South China Sea,” he said.


Spain's main newspapers were unanimous in awarding victory to Clinton in the debate, each highlighting what they said was the Democratic Party candidate's superior preparation and more convincing presidential image.

In its digital edition Tuesday, leading daily El Pais' headline said “Clinton corners Trump with attacks on his racism and lack of preparation.” The center-left newspaper said that while neither candidate committed any major error, Clinton was able to put Trump on the defensive by questioning his “credentials as a businessman, accusing him of racism and placing in doubt his temperament to be commander in chief.”

Conservative daily ABC said that “the first debate does not resolve anything but it does leave the impression that the ex-secretary of state did her homework, knows the lesson better and transmits a more presidential image.”


Doris Conteh, a teacher, listened to the debate on the BBC World Service early in the morning and found herself thinking that the United States is not ready for a female president despite Clinton's extensive experience in government.

“Although she performed well during the debate and Trump failed to triumph over the hilarious Hillary Clinton, I doubt it,” she said.