U.S. President-elect Donald Trump says German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a “catastrophic mistake” when she let hundreds of thousands of migrants into Germany last year.
In a joint interview with The Times of London and Germany’s Bild newspaper, Trump said, “I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking in all of these illegals, you know, taking all of the people from wherever they came from.”
Most of the migrants are Muslims who poured into Western Europe to escape war, terrorism and poverty in places such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Trump hastened to add that he always had “great respect” for Merkel and called her a “fantastic” leader. But he said Germans “got a clear impression” of the consequences of her immigration policy — a likely reference to the December Christmas market truck attack in Berlin that killed 12.
The driver who mowed down the shoppers was Tunisian and came to Germany before Merkel opened the door to Middle Eastern war refugees. He fled to Italy after the attack and later was killed by police.
Trump blamed the refugee crisis as the reason for Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, calling it “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I do believe this. If they (the EU) hadn’t been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many…I think that you wouldn’t have a Brexit.”
But he still called Brexit a good thing, and forecast other countries bailing out of the EU, saying they, like Britain, want their own identity.
“I do think keeping it together is not going to be as easy as a lot of people think. If refugees keep pouring into different parts of Europe…people are angry about it.”
Trump also told the British and German newspapers that NATO is “obsolete” because “it was designed many many years ago…the countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay…it’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror.”
But he immediately followed that by saying NATO is “very important to me.”