President Donald Trump said in an interview set to be broadcast Tuesday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lost her “superstar” status because of an embrace of lax immigration policies.
The knock was the latest on Merkel, whom Trump also criticized at the outset of a NATO summit last week for her country’s level of defense spending and for a natural-gas-pipeline deal with Russia.
“Angela was a superstar until she allowed millions of people to come into Germany,” Trump said in an interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, according to excerpts released Tuesday. “That really hurt her badly, as you know. She was unbeatable in any election. She allowed millions of people to come in. . . . She has been very badly hurt by immigration.”
Merkel earlier this month narrowly avoided the breakup of her coalition government over the issue of immigration. She has been under fire by critics in Germany who say she has been too welcoming of migrants.
Both a candidate and as president, Trump has championed hard-line immigration policies, including the construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and the separation of migrant families trying to cross the border illegally.
Last week, Trump warned European leaders that they “better watch themselves” because a wave of immigration is “changing the culture” of their countries.
“I think it’s a very negative thing for Europe. I think it’s very negative,” Trump said during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Ellesborough, England. “And I know it’s politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I’ll say it and I’ll say it loud.”
He also singled out Merkel in those remarks.
“I have a great relationship with Angela Merkel,” Trump said. “But I think that’s very much hurt Germany. I think it’s very much hurt other parts of Europe.”