US President-elect Donald Trump said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made a “catastrophic mistake” with a policy that let a wave of more than one million migrants into her country.
In a joint interview with The Times and the German newspaper Bild, Trump also said the European Union had become “a vehicle for Germany” and predicted that more EU member states would vote to leave the bloc as Britain did last June.
“I think she made one very catastrophic mistake, and that was taking all of these illegals,” Trump said of Merkel, who in August 2015 decided to keep Germany’s borders open for refugees, mostly Muslims, fleeing war zones in the Middle East.
“And nobody even knows where they come from. So I think she made a catastrophic mistake, very bad mistake,” Trump said, adding that he always had “great respect” for Merkel and that he still viewed her as one of the most important world leaders.
Merkel faces a tough re-election battle in September.