US President Donald Trump poses a risk both to his own country and the rest of the world, the German Social Democrats’ candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz, said, also accusing the Republican leader of oversimplifying complex political issues.
“It was obvious for me that the solemn atmosphere of the White House would not civilize Trump,” Schulz, a former longtime president of the European Parliament, told the German Der Spiegel weekly, adding that the US president had exceeded his worst expectations.
The candidate for the chancellorship particularly criticized what he called Trump’s “ruthless nepotism” which he said is manifested in the US president’s habit of “putting his family above the law.”
He went on to say that Trump reduces “complex political decisions to just 140 printed characters.”
“I really believe that reducing politics to a tweet is dangerous for a US president,” Schulz told Der Spiegel, adding that “Trump is a risk for his land and the whole world.”
At the same time, Schulz said he would be quite capable of dealing with Trump if elected chancellor.
“People like Trump eventually need the same thing they spread themselves: clear messages,” he said, adding that he would “confront [Trump] as clearly and intelligibly as possible.”
“A German head of government has not only the right but the duty to do that,” Schulz told the newspaper.
“Trump believes that politics is a boxing ring. It is not, however.
Though it is not the case, politics still sometimes needs clear words,” he said, citing the example of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who “unambiguously said no to a US president” in case of the “invasion to Iraq, which was contrary to the international law.”
Schulz also said he would be better at dealing with Trump than current German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seeks to remain in the post following the parliamentary elections scheduled for September.
Merkel sharply criticized Trump following his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The decision of the US president to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is very regrettable, and I’m expressing myself in a very reserved way when I say that,” she said following the US pullout.
In May, she also said that “Europeans must really take [their] destiny into [their] own hands” as they could not “completely depend on others,” apparently referring to the US.
Merkel ‘neglects her duty’ as chancellor – Schulz
The Social Democrats’ candidate did not stop at claiming Merkel is incapable of dealing with Trump, also accusing her of neglecting her duty to voters and an inability to resolve the pressing issues German faces.
To win elections, politicians have to “come up with better proposals for the future of this country” than their political rivals, Schulz said, adding that it is not such a difficult task under the current circumstances, as “the person that currently hold the [chancellor’s] office makes no [proposals] at all.”
“A chancellor who does not tell the voters anything about her plans, neglects her duty and puts the future of our country at risk,” he added.
Schulz also called Merkel “a professional in putting problems on the back burner” by saying that she “did not say a word” about “tattered schools, the suffering of refugees, tax evasion, the financial and banking crisis, the reform of EU institutions and attacks on democracy in Poland and Hungary.”
“She even had the nerve to say that she intends to deal with Europe only after the elections. That is really daring,” he added.
He also said that, even though the general situation in Germany is relatively good, “the life of many Germans is far from good.”
Merkel should address the issues that concern these people, Schulz said, adding that she “apparently lacks courage and skill” to do that.
With the parliamentary elections scheduled for September 24, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party still leads in the polls, offering her a chance to be re-elected for a fourth term.
According to a poll conducted by the Kantar Emnid public opinion research center in late July, the CDU enjoys 38 percent of public support and is followed by the Social Democrats, who have the support of 24 percent of voters.
All other major German parties, including the Free Democrats, the AfD as well as the Left and the Green Party, lag far behind with between 8 and 9 percent of public support on average.