Trump slammed by media for tweeting Germans ‘turning against their leadership’

Trump slammed by media for tweeting Germans ‘turning against their leadership’


Mandel NGAN (AFP)
The rapport between US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at least visually, appeared decidedly warmer than in their previous White House meeting in March 2017

As Berlin is currently in the midst of a coalition crisis over a controversial plan to to turn migrants away at the border, German media on Monday slammed US President Donald Trump over a tweet claiming that migration policies are causing Germans to turn against their government.

On Monday, Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer vowed to close the border to migrants by July if Merkel fails to find solutions with European partners. Also leader of the ultra-conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) - the Bavarian sister-party to Chancellor Angela Merkel - Seehofer’s party is promoting the stricter asylum laws.

Merkel is said to be seeking a European agreement on the issue during the EU summit scheduled for June 28-29 but has stressed that even if no deal is not reached, there will be "no automatism" about rejecting asylum seekers. She has also rejected her minister’s threat in a bid to reaffirm that she holds the reins when it comes to government policies.

Merkel’s plight however, did not go unnoticed by the US President who has routinely criticized her decision to open Germany’s borders in 2015.

“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” Donald Trump tweeted Monday afternoon. “Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!

“We don't want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!” he added.

“US President embarrasses himself with a tweet full of lies,” read the headline of the Spiegel Online, a widely read German-language news website, which linked Trump’s remarks to the controversy surrounding his own migration policy.

“Trump is under pressure because of the separation of families at the US border - and apparently tries to justify his refugee policy with the example of Germany,” continued the editorial, “but the facts are not correct.”

A recent Forsa survey showed that Merkel is still popular among Germans, with about a 50 percent approval ratings. According to the Emnid polling institute, if elections were held right now the grand coalition led by Merkel would still win 51 percent of the votes.

Another poll released Friday found that 66 percent of respondents are in favor of a European solution to the refugee issue, promoted by Chancellor Merkel.

It also found that two-thirds of all Germans believe that the CSU has only instigated this dispute as an election campaign tactic, in order to steal votes from the populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) ahead of the October state election in Bavaria.

Moreover, new statistics actually points to a record low in Germany’s crime rate. Germany’s international public broadcaster Deutsche Welle responded to Trump’s remarks directly, posting on Twitter that “contrary to your assertion, crime here has actually fallen off dramatically!

“Criminal offenses totaled 5.76 million in 2017, the lowest number since 1992 = the lowest crime rate in more than 30 years. Pleasure,” added the broadcaster. The figures are based on official police data made public by Seehofer himself in May, which indicated a 9.6 percent drop in crime compared to 2016.

The Deutsche Welle website also noted that separate studies suggest that Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Germany are less likely to commit crimes out of fear for jeopardizing their chances of obtaining asylum.

“Trump is trying to sway the domestic political debate in favor of right-wing conservatives and populist elements in Germany,” Rolf Mützenich, foreign affairs expert for Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), told DW. “We will not change our constitutional principles and precepts of European cooperation learnt from history to align with the 'America First' policy in Washington.”

The number of applications for asylum in Germany dropped by 70 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year but Germany remains the main target for asylum seekers in the EU. The European asylum authority Easo announced Monday in Brussels that a total of 222,560 applications was registered last year with almost a third of them (31 percent) in Germany.