Angela Merkel’s opponents are lining up to slam Donald Trump as they dig in for the election race

Merkel had a “very unsatisfactory” G7 with Trump.
Merkel had a “very unsatisfactory” G7 with Trump.
Image: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
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Just two days after Angela Merkel said the European Union needed to take charge of its own destiny and could no longer completely rely on the US and Britain, Germany’s main political parties are all leaping into the fray to criticize US president Donald Trump and his policies. And, like Merkel, they’re pushing for varying levels of emancipation from the US and increased self-reliance within the EU.

Martin Schulz, Merkel’s main challenger for the chancellery in the September elections, even admonished Trump for his “unacceptable” treatment of Merkel. ”Election campaign or no election campaign, in this situation let me be entirely clear: the chancellor represent all of us at summits like these,” the Social Democrat leader said in Berlin. “And I reject with outrage the way this man takes it upon himself to treat the head of our country’s government.”

The Social Democrats—partners in the coalition government with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union—were quick off the mark on Monday. Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel of the SPD told the Rheinische Post (link in German) that “whoever does not confront these US policies makes themselves complicit.” He criticized Trump for not agreeing, so far, to sign the Paris climate accord and said that the “short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union.”

Then, Monday night, Schulz went even further: “It is the order of the day to obstruct this man with all that we represent.”

The Left Party also jumped on the bandwagon. “It is long overdue to establish independent policies from the administration of Donald Trump,” Parliamentary chair Dietmar Bartsch told the Nordwest-Zeitung. “The G7 format has definitely failed.”

Perhaps in response, Donald Trump launched a fresh Twitter tirade this morning against Germany, accusing the country (again) of not paying its fair share of NATO contributions and of running a “MASSIVE” trade deficit. It’s what he said last week in Brussels, too, telling EU leaders that “the Germans are bad, very bad,” according to Der Spiegel. His latest rant is likely to only fan the flames of anti-Trump feeling in Germany and its neighbors in the EU.