(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered an uncharacteristically blunt rebuke of President Donald Trump’s attacks on minority congresswomen, saying the U.S. leader’s position undermines the values that helped make the country successful.
“The strength of America, from my perspective, is that it’s a country in which people from many different nationalities have contributed,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Friday. Trump’s calls for the four elected officials to return to where they came from are “something that counteracts America’s strength.”
Eager to preserve a beleaguered transatlantic relationship against Trump’s threats over trade, defense spending and energy, the German leader typically adopts a measured tone when it comes to the combative U.S. president. Her most recent critique -- a takedown of the president’s leadership style at a Harvard University commencement address in May -- didn’t refer to Trump by name.
But Merkel opted to speak directly against Trump’s volley at the congresswomen, termed racist by Democrats and some Republicans. The incident was capped by broadly condemned Trump-rally chants of “send her back” -- directed at Somalia-born Representative Ilhan Omar, an American citizen from Minnesota.
Asked whether she rejected the comments against Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Merkel doubled down.
“I distance myself decisively” from the comments and “feel solidarity” with the women, Merkel said.
--With assistance from Birgit Jennen.
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