Senior German politicians spoke out after Trump falsely claimed he had won the election and sought to stop election counts.
Norbert Röttgen, told CNN that Trump’s behaviour “really is unbelievable and it’s really with great sadness to many, many Germans to witness this behaviour.”
German defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said there was “great concern” about the “explosive” crisis in the US.
A senior ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned President Trump’s “awful” behaviour in the US election while the country’s defence minister warned that Trump’s attempts to stop votes being counted could “lead to a constitutional crisis” in the US.
Norbert Röttgen, chair of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, told CNN that Trump’s behaviour “really is unbelievable and it’s really with great sadness to many, many Germans to witness this behaviour.”
He said: “I also have to say it is without any surprise. I have always said, and I was not the only man in Germany (to say it), that if and when we are going to see a tight election result, we are going to see a fight with all means by the president and it will start with a claiming of victory before votes have been counted.
“This is the start of trying to occupy the public realm and to dominate the public opinion and he will then intervene in the process of counting, he will challenge this then by the courts, and we are are going to see days and weeks of fighting and non-acceptance.”
Röttgen told CNN that he believed Trump’s “awful” behaviour would not overwhelm the US election process but warned that his supporters may deploy actions “which are beyond the democratic process.” Trump supporters have been filmed gathering outside polling stations in key battleground states, urging local officials to both continue and stop counting votes, depending on whether Trump was leading or trailing.
“At the end of the day, we have good reason to trust the constitutional system and democratic institutions of the United States of America,” he said.
“So I have full trust despite this, I have to say, awful behaviour we are forced to witness and which will perhaps lead Americans and supporters of Donald Trump, who believe in his words and say ‘yes, this is a fraud of our democracy, a betrayal of the democratic victory,’ to means and actions which are beyond the democratic process.
“We have to be afraid about that.”
He was echoed by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the defence minister in Merkel’s German government, who said there was “great concern” in Berlin about events in the US.
She told German television channel ZDF, according to CNBC: “This is a very explosive situation. This is a situation that can lead to a constitutional crisis in the US, as experts are rightly saying. And it is something that must cause us great concern.”
The eyes of Europe are focused on the US amid a widespread belief that the outcome of the election will have a significant impact on Washington’s ties with Europe — Germany in particular. The White House’s relationship with Berlin has waned since Trump’s election in 2016, with tension over spats like Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Germany. Joe Biden is expected to prioritize improving the US relationship with Germany if he is elected president.
Kramp-Karrenbauer this week admitted that “anti-American sentiment” is growing in Germany.
“Anti-American sentiment, which has always existed in our country alongside feelings of gratitude and closeness toward our ally, is on the rise and has become a notable force,” she wrote for Politico.
However, she stressed that Berlin and Washington must be close partners, writing that “Europe stands ready to strengthen and defend our common Atlantic heritage.”
“Making a strong case for transatlantic relations these days is not always an easy undertaking — not only in Germany but also elsewhere in Europe. But the case must be made.
“There is an overwhelming strategic need for strong transatlantic cooperation, both on our side in Europe, but also, I firmly believe, in Washington.”
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