German nationalist leader: Trump should tweet less
Posted August 28
BERLIN — A leader of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party said Monday that Donald Trump should devote more energy to governing and less to tweeting, but she insisted the U.S. president's unpopularity in Germany is not harming her party's standing ahead of next month's election.
The AfD party's anti-immigration, anti-Islam stance has often been compared with Trump's positions, and members welcomed Trump's election and some of his policies.
Alternative for Germany hopes to enter the German parliament in the country's Sept. 24 election, in which conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to win a fourth term.
"If I had a wish list, I would like Donald Trump to tweet less, clean up his own shop more and deal more humbly with his governmental responsibility," Alice Weidel, one of AfD's top leaders, told foreign reporters in Berlin.
She also blamed the media, however, for painting what she called an "absolutely exaggerated" picture of Trump.
Polls show AfD on track to top the 5 percent of votes needs to enter parliament, but short of the support levels it reached following the massive migrant influx to Germany in 2015 and 2016. Migration has receded as a political issue in Germany.
Weidel insisted that Trump's often-criticized performance has "no influence" on AfD's popularity.
"We are completely independent of what Donald Trump does," Weidel said. "I can draw no parallels."
AfD drew criticism Monday for reported remarks by Weidel's co-leader in the election campaign, Alexander Gauland, who said the German government's commissioner for immigrants' integration could be "disposed of in Anatolia."
The commissioner, Aydan Ozoguz, has Turkish roots. Gauland was also referring to comments in which she said that "a specifically German culture is, beyond the language, simply not identifiable."
Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Gauland's comments made no sense — noting that Ozoguz comes from Hamburg, not Turkey.
But Weidel defended them, saying "you can certainly argue about the style but (Gauland) is right in terms of substance."