Donald Trump is dominating the headlines once again after he hit back furiously at reports that Russia had compromising videos of him in a Moscow hotel room. The president-elect denied the claims, branding BuzzFeed, who revealed the dossier detailing the allegations, a ‘failing piece of garbage’. So should the claims have come to light?
No, says the Sun, which attacks the website for publishing the unverified allegations and in so doing making a ‘mockery of journalism’. The paper questions why the website – whose editor-in-chief admitted they could not stand up the claims – gave the go-ahead to release the information anyway. Contrasting it with attempts to ‘strangle British newspapers with State regulation’, it says that ‘anarchy reigns on the web’. Elsewhere, the newspaper also finds room to have its say on Mark Carney’s appearance at a select committee yesterday, in which the Bank of England governor said that Brexit was no longer the biggest danger facing the UK economy. Given that Carney’s prophecies from before the referendum haven’t come to light yet, says the Sun, perhaps this change of tune means that ‘we ARE doomed’ after all.
What should we make of Donald Trump’s fiery outing in front of the press yesterday? The Times says there is clearly a good reason why the president-elect has waited six months to make an appearance in front of the world’s media; after all, his critics have ‘plenty of topics on which to ask him potentially embarrassing questions’. One of these topics – and the one on everyone’s lips – is Russia’s alleged links to Donald Trump. However far these ties do actually go, Trump hasn’t been embarrassed to talk up Putin. So it’s obvious than that we’re going to see something of a departure in terms of US relations with the Kremlin. This news has worried many. But is there a hidden positive to closer ties between the two countries? The Times suggests that Trump’s closer links with Putin could even mirror President Nixon’s olive branch to China 45 years ago. This move, the paper suggests, could enable the US to ‘drive a wedge between Russia and China and free up Washington to concentrate on winning a show of strength with Beijing’. But if the plan is to annoy China, Trump should be careful. The Times says that American and Chinese economies are woven inextricably together and ‘they should not be lightly pulled apart’.
But what about the man Donald Trump is replacing? Barack Obama gave an emotional farewell speech on Monday night in which he detailed his legacy. What legacy, asks the Daily Mail, which says Obama is lucky there has been such a row about Donald Trump because it has distracted from ‘just how little he has to brag about after eight years in power’. Guantanamo Bay is open, Obama’s ‘empty threats’ against Syria will linger long in the memory, and his ‘disgraceful’ interference in the Brexit referendum with his remarks about Britain going to the back of the queue for a trade deal will also not be forgotten. But he has left behind a kind of political inheritance – ‘America’s disenchantment with its liberal elite – and the triumph of Mr Trump’.
There are some who will be glad to see the back of Barack Obama – Benjamin Netanyahu among them, says the Guardian. The paper says that Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel -David Friedman – and the president elect’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser Jared Kushner – will be welcomed by Netanyahu. But there are big worries about the path Israel is now taking, says the paper, which talks of an ‘accelerating rightward trend’ whereby the West Bank occupation comes to be seen as permanent. The paper warns that the direction being taken by the Israeli Prime Minister looks like a worrying one. And Trump’s small interventions so far – such as his apparent endorsement of the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem – are also worrying. Such a move by Trump ‘would be a disaster for peace’, the Guardian says.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.