Leading German magazine DER SPIEGEL cautions President Trump of Chancellor Merkel’s “nastier side”
Having postponed her Tuesday’s visit due to a blizzard, German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads to Washington today. This would be the first in-person meeting between the two world leaders since the change of the guard in Washington.
While German police go after citizens for criticizing Chancellor Merkel or her ‘Refugee’ Policy, demeaning President Trump is the new favourite pastime for Germany’s political establishment and mainstream media. German mainstream media, hostile to President Donal Trump on any given day, made no effort to hide its belligerence toward the U.S. President ahead of Merkel’s visit.
Der Spiegel, widely read in Berlin’s political circles, called Trump “an unsophisticated yet self-absorbed political neophyte,” contrasting him the near-messianic figure of their Chancellor, who according to the magazine is “one of the most experienced leaders in the world, one who many see as being the last defender of democracy and Western values.”
Der Spiegel warned that if Trump sticks to his ‘America First’ policy during the bilateral meeting, the E.U. was ready to “brace for [a] trade war”. In a bluntly written article of its English edition aimed apparently at U.S. policy makers, the German magazine cautioned that “[Merkel] has a nastier side as well.”
But what happens in the likely event that Trump sticks to his “America First” plans? If that happens, then Merkel is expected to push for a united EU front to blockade Washington. [Der Spiegel, March 10, 2017]
Before heading to Washington, Merkel talked to Chinese President Xi Jinping over the phone. German public broadcaster DW News talked about the Chinese and German ‘anxiety over Trump’.
In the past, Trump has threatened to fine German automakers who planned to sell cars within the US that were made in other countries. The US president has also levelled threats at China, such as his desire to label the country a currency manipulator, which has sparked fears of a possible trade war between the two countries. [DW News, March 16, 2017]
Chancellor Merkel — missing in action when it was time to stand up for Women Rights in the aftermath of the mass-sexual assaults in Cologne and other German cities — lectured the newly-elected U.S. President on Human Rights and Gender Equality. In her first public reaction to Trump’s victory, Merkel lectured the President-Elect on “the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation”.
The fact that under her watch thousands of migrant men could rape, assault and rob more than 1200 women without being brought to court — let alone receive a punishment — did not stop Merkel from lecturing Trump on Human and Women Rights.
Mainstream media — instead of pointing out Markel’s hypocrisy — was overjoyed to see Merkel ‘stand up to Trump’. The Washington Post justified Merkel’s remark’s saying, “[She] has guided Germany to the zenith of its post-World War II power” and Huffington Post cheered Merkel’s “not-so-subtle warning to Donald Trump after his Presidential win” and admiringly citing her role as the “driving force behind the EU’s acceptance of hundreds of thousands of refugees.”
Members of Merkel’s cabinet, who have been complaining about the lack of diplomacy in Trump-led Washington, have been less than diplomatic towards the new U.S. President themselves.
When U.S. voters headed for polls last November, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Trump a “hate preacher”. Merkel’s right-hand man, German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, went even further and warned U.S. voters of an economic doom if they were to elect Trump. “[A Trump victory would mean] shrinking GDP, fewer jobs and higher unemployment,” Gabriel told Der Spiegel. Gabriel, a career politician with little experience of running a business himself, warned that Trump’s ideas were “impossible to put into practice” and “no basis for a realistic economic policy.”
Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Mass, who opposes banning child marriages on the grounds of accommodating the cultures of newly-arrived migrants, is less accommodating to the real leader of the Free World. Late January, Mass tweeted a warning to Trump saying, “Be careful, Mr. President.”
Trump, who once had publicly admired Merkel’s leadership in the past, was outspoken in his rejection of Merkel’s Open Borders Policy in the wake of migrant influx that began two years ago. On the campaign trail, Trump explained how Merkel’s handling on the Migrant Crisis changed his views towards her.
“Well, I think Merkel is a really great world leader,” Trump said last year. “But I was very disappointed that, when she, this move with the whole thing on immigration, I think it’s a big problem and really, you know, to look at what she’s done in the last year and a half. I was always a Merkel person. I thought really fantastic. But I think she made a very tragic mistake a year and a half ago.”
Regardless of the personal chemistry between the two leaders — or lack thereof — President Trump will have important issues to discuss with Chancellor Merkel. President Trump is expected to urge Germany to increase its NATO spending and take steps to lower the current $65 billion trade deficit.
Video: Germany’s state-funded DW News mocks President Trump’s style of dressing
[Cover image courtesy screenshot, Focus magazine]