U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as her favourite world leader, choosing specifically to praise her record on the migrant crisis — despite her policies on opening Europe’s borders now providing a source of immense regret for her party and Germany.
The comments were made during a question and answer session on board Mrs. Clinton’s campaign aeroplane in Chicago yesterday, when a member of the press asked what the presidential candidate’s favourite world leader is. Initially leaving her answer quite open, remarking: “Look, I like a lot of the world leaders”, Mrs. Clinton then settled on Germany’s imperiled Chancellor Angela Merkel.
She told members of the press: “One of my favorites is Angela Merkel because I think she’s been an extraordinary, strong leader during difficult times in Europe, which has obvious implications for the rest of the world and, most particularly, our country”, reports Politico.
Turning episodes in Merkel’s career which are among the most damaging to her reputation into positives, the would-be president continued: “Her leadership and steadiness on the Euro crisis and her bravery in the face of the refugee crisis is something that I am impressed by.
“I’ve known her for a long time, she and I have known each other back to the 1990s, I’ve spent a lot of time with her. And I hope I’ll have the opportunity to work with her in the future.”
Clinton’s specific highlighting of Merkel’s handling of the migrant crisis — a major political and social upheaval across Europe for which she can claim more responsibility for than perhaps any other world leader — may cause concern, given Clinton’s own position on mass migration.
A promise to welcome Syrian refugees to the United States made headlines earlier this year when she vowed to increase the number of Syrian migrants admitted by 550 per cent. The propensity for Mrs. Clinton to go big on immigration to the United States and her similarities to Angela Merkel were noted by Breitbart London editor in chief Raheem Kassam in January when he told radio host Sean Hannity: “[Merkel] brought in 1.5 million – [Hillary would] take 20 million in heart beat.
“This is what you need to be concerned about… If Germany seems like a long way away, it’s really not. If it’s happening in Western Europe today, it’s happening in America tomorrow.”
Considered the most powerful woman in Europe and Time person of the year, Angela Merkel enjoyed an unassailable position in German politics, presiding over a grand coalition and maintaining some of Europe’s strongest poll ratings for a national leader. Yet the migrant crisis has significantly damaged her standing, with Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Party slipping in the polls and the insurgent, anti-mass migration Alternative For Germany surging in recent elections.
The migrant crisis has had a knock-on effect on broader European politics, with concern about mass migration helping to push the United Kingdom out of the European Union in this year’s referendum, and previous European project stalwarts like Hungary and Poland to the point of open rebellion against Brussels in order to prevent the forced relocation of so-called refugees to their nations.
Responding to the same question yesterday, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump also selected Angela Merkel — despite having regularly bashed her over the course of his campaign. Praising her skill as a world leader, he qualified his remarks by criticising her over the migrant crisis, saying he was “very disappointed” in her performance.
Mr. Trump called Merkel’s decision to welcome millions of migrants to the European Union “a very tragic mistake”.
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