German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rival in the upcoming September election has slammed the leader for not standing up to US President Donald Trump.
Martin Schulz, a Social Democrat (SPD), has been hitting the campaign stump in his attempt to unseat Merkel, but is currently a long shot despite taking a brief lead in the polls back in January.
Schulz, in claiming that Merkel does not go far enough to counter comments about Germany by the US president that are seen as being on the rude side of blunt, stated, “I would say to Trump: We don’t agree with your reasoning over a military buildup, which isn’t justified by anything.”
The center-left SPD party candidate asserted, “The German chancellor must sometimes dare to be in conflict with the American president,” according to Deutsche Welle.
Merkel has been seen to be patient with Trump’s often outlandish and undiplomatic behavior, including after the US president suggested that the three-time German chancellor was “ruining Germany” by accepting refugees.
Trump also referred to Germany as “very bad,” because of its trade imbalances, during a meeting of NATO leaders.
Schulz, a former president of the EU, stated — in a clear reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — that his words were “not just for Merkel,” as with a G20 summit in Hamburg coming up, “a democratic government needs to ask itself if it wants to join in consensus declarations with autocrats.”
“Should we be making concessions to Trump, Erdogan and Putin? No,” Schulz told Germany’s Welt an Sommtag newspaper.
“You can also give a president a clear no,” the candidate suggested, referring to Merkel’s diplomatic ability to keep a political debate from descending into mere name-calling.
Schulz has seen the tide of enthusiasm for his candidacy ebb in recent weeks in favor of Merkel. A recent survey from German polling agency INSA revealed that 37 percent of voters in the country favor of Merkel and just 24 percent support Schultz.