President-elect Trump heavily criticized Chancellor Merkel’s open-door policy on refugees in a joint interview published on Sunday with German tabloid newspaper “Bild” and British newspaper “The Times of London.”
“I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know, taking all of the people from wherever they come from,” he said.
“And nobody even knows where they come from. So I think she made a catastrophic mistake, very bad mistake.”
In 2015 about 900,000 migrants, many coming from Syria, entered Germany after Merkel opened the country’s doors, famously saying “we can do this.”
The bilionaire businessman said Germany had “got a clear impression” of the consequences of her policy from a Berlin terror attack that killed 12 people in December.
Trump insisted he had “great respect” for Merkel and would start his presidency trusting the “fantastic leader,” but that his trust might not last long.
Trump promised he would offer the United Kingdom a trade deal within weeks of taking office to help make Brexit a “great thing”.
“We’re going to work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides,” Trump said.
“I will be meeting with [British Prime Minister Theresa May]. She’s requesting a meeting and we’ll have a meeting right after I get into the White House and it’ll be, I think we’re going to get something done very quickly.”
May said on Saturday she would lead the country towards a “hard Brexit.”
Others will leave
Trump warned that other countries in the 28-member EU would follow suit after Brexit because of immigration.
“I think it’s very tough,” he said. “People, countries want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity.”
“If refugees keep pouring into different parts of Europe … I think it’s going to be very hard to keep it together because people are angry about it.”
He said the mass arrivals in 2015 were “the last drop that made the barrel overflow” in convincing British voters to back leaving the bloc in a June 24 referendum.
“If they hadn’t been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many, with all the problems that it… entails, I think that you wouldn’t have a Brexit. This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.”
He further said the European Union had become “a vehicle for Germany”.
Trump described the NATO alliance as an “obsolete” organization.
“I said a long time ago that NATO had problems. Number one it was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago,” he said.
He insisted that NATO remained “very important to me,” but that some NATO allies weren’t paying enough.
“We’re supposed to protect countries. But a lot of these countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to be paying, which I think is very unfair to the United States.”
“With that being said, NATO is very important to me. There’s five countries that are paying what they’re supposed to. Five. It’s not much,” he added.
US contributions to NATO accounted for about 70 percent of spending by the bloc’s nations.