‘End of Europe’: Trump slams Merkel’s refugee policy, wants good relations with Russia
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has lambasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel for admitting hundreds of thousands of migrants, saying this could be “the end of Europe.” He also said America could have “very good relations” with Russia.
The real estate billionaire was speaking to the French conservative magazine Valeurs Actuelles, saying the German chancellor had made “a tragic mistake with the migrants.”
"If you don't treat the situation competently and firmly, yes, it's the end of Europe. You could face real revolutions," Trump was quoted as saying, as cited by Reuters.
Merkel’s approval ratings have taken a nosedive and she has also received criticism from within her ruling coalition for her ‘open-door’ refugee and migrant policy, which saw an estimated 1.1 million asylum seekers arrive in Germany in 2015. Germany’s Economics Minister Gerd Muller stated in January that an estimated 8-10 million refugees could try to enter Europe over the coming years.
In a message that would certainly appease the influential pressure group the National Rifle Association, Trump was highly critical of France’s strict gun laws, which he says played a part in the killing of dozens of people at the Bataclan Theater on November 13 by Islamist militant gunmen.
"I always have a gun with me. Had I been at the Bataclan, I can tell you I would have opened fire," he said.
Continuing his anti-migrant theme, the 69-year-old mentioned that some neighborhoods in Paris had become no-go areas, while the Belgian capital, Brussels, had become “a breeding ground for terrorists.”
In December, Trump suggested that all Muslims should be barred from entering the US until the authorities “figure out what’s going on here” in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings in California on December 2, which killed 16 people.
However, the Republican presidential contender had kinder words concerning ties with Russia, with Trump saying that Washington could have very good relations with President Vladimir Putin. He also noted that nothing could be worse than the present situation where President Barack Obama and Putin hardly speak with one another.
"[Putin] said I was brilliant. That proves a certain smartness," said Trump.
Putin praised Trump during his traditional end of the year Question and Answer session with journalists on December 17. He described the property tycoon as the “absolute front-runner in the presidential race.” However, he stressed that he would be ready to work with whoever becomes the next US president.
"He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that... He is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it," Putin said.
Trump responded by saying it was a “great honor” to receive praise from a “highly-respected” leader like Putin, while adding that if he is elected as the new US president, he would like to work with Russia.
“I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect,” he reiterated on December 18.