Jan 17, 2023, 3:23pm EST

How the world’s newspapers are reacting to Biden’s classified document scandal


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The News

A “staggering boxer” with his back to the wall. The U.S. is the “real loser.” A “further erosion of trust” in American politics.

Newspapers in several countries came down hard on President Joe Biden’s classified documents saga, suggesting that it would further divide the country, while undermining the investigation into his predecessor’s own secret document scandal.

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The View From Mexico

“The hour of truth for Biden and Democrats”

El Universal -- one of Mexico’s most-circulated and influential newspapers -- compared Biden to former president Donald Trump on Tuesday in an op-ed arguing that the discovery of Biden’s classified documents could “not come at a worse time” for Democrats, particularly after the party performed strongly during the midterm elections.

Biden scandal reaction
El Universal

Unlike Trump, Biden has offered to cooperate with the investigation, but the newspaper opined that the situation was largely the same in the eyes of the U.S. voters who had rejected the politics of the past administration, only to now see it becoming “the nightmare which the Trump government became.”

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The View From South Africa

“Trump and his allies gunning for wounded Biden”

In an analysis for South Africa’s The Independent Online -- the digital publication service for several national newspapers -- South African journalist, Abbey Makoe opined that Biden’s scathing criticism of Trump’s classified documents controversy has come back to “haunt him.”

“He who lives in a glass house does not throw stones,” Makoe wrote. He described Biden as “staggering as a boxer hit hard in the ring” with his opponents circling him like a “clan of hyenas” and the fiasco threatening to undermine the investigation into Trump’s classified documents probe.

“But now, the inevitable embarrassment Biden is attempting to manage through every power at his disposal is quickly spiraling into a major political crisis in 2023,” Makoe wrote. “As it spreads like wildfire, the Biden scandal threatens to undermine the case for Trump to be charged for the same misdemeanor that the sitting president now stands accused.”

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The View From China

“US the real loser in documents dogfight”


An English editorial piece from state media news site China Daily on Tuesday argued that the revelations are a blowback to American democracy because it will only sow more division between Republicans and Democrats.

Biden scandal reaction
China Daily

“Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats care about the waste of resources or the image — or proper functioning of US democracy — so intent are they on landing knockout blows on each other,” the editorial board wrote.

“It is the US as a nation that is the loser in their fight.”

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The View From Russia

“New secret documents found in Joe Biden’s personal home. What threatens the US president for a possible violation of espionage laws”

Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta -- the mouthpiece for the Kremlin -- suggested that Biden could have potentially violated U.S. espionage laws, adding that the case might be more ”ambiguous" for Biden since he apparently did not remember the locations of the documents, unlike Trump.


The article also painted a bleak picture of American politics, framing society as deeply divided.

The paper opined that the way Biden’s allies are seeking to frame this scandal illustrates that in American politics “truth is determined not by facts, but by party affiliation.”

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The View From Iran

“Their crime is that they took documents home”

The Tehran Times -- an English-language newspaper with close ties to the Iranian government -- argued in a Jan. 14 article that both Trump and Biden’s controversies show the U.S. has a serious security issue at hand.

Biden documents reaction
The Tehran Times

“Classified and confidential information is very sensitive in any country,” the article said. “And any country that has an international position has a higher sensitivity of documents, and the smallest change in this regard can turn into a scandal first and then into a crisis if it continues.”

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The View From The United Kingdom

“The Observer view on the secret garage files that could deal a severe blow to Joe Biden’s hopes”

In a Sunday op-ed in The Observer -- the sister publication of The Guardian -- the editorial board wrote that while the Trump scandal is more serious in nature, Biden’s situation is detrimental for public trust in U.S. politics.

“The extent of the damage to Biden and the Democrats will depend in part on whether Trump, the Republicans and their Fox News boosters succeed in sustaining and widening the scandal,” the Observer wrote. “They will propagate lies, disinformation and conspiracy theories.”

The editorial suggested that the probe could tie Biden up in legal battles if the seized documents end up containing current, sensitive information pertaining to Ukraine or Iran.

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Want to pass along a tip or feedback? Write to Diego at dmendoza@semafor.com