The Cable

Merkel Ally To Trump: Don’t Use ‘Lies’ About Refugees and Crime in Germany

A Merkel surrogate hits at Trump for falsehoods about a refugee-fueled crime surge in Germany.

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On Monday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed crime in Germany has surged due to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s willingness to accept hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. On Tuesday, a surrogate of the powerful German leader accused Trump of using “lies” to justify his plan to keep refugees out of the United States.

Here’s the backstory. During a national security speech Monday, Trump called Merkel’s plan a “disaster,” then used her name to bash his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. “In short, Hillary Clinton wants to be America’s Angela Merkel and you know what a disaster this massive immigration has been to Germany and the people of Germany. Crime has risen to levels that no one thought they would ever, ever see. It is a catastrophe,” Trump said.

In a news release Monday, Stephen Miller, an advisor to Trump, doubled down on this claim. He said, “Hillary Clinton is America’s Merkel. She wants to bring in 620,000 refugees, for a cost of about $400 billlion — vastly more than the cost of helping many more in an overseas safe zone.”

Trump also tweeted this image connecting Merkel and Clinton.

As it is with many of Trump’s statements, the problem is that they are patently untrue; there has been no significant crime increase in Germany because of the refugee influx. Michael Roth, Germany’s European affairs minister, told Reuters it was necessary to correct Trump’s assertion because it was based on “fears, lies, and half-truths.”

“I’m sorry that the Republican presidential candidate trumpets out things like that without any factual basis,” Roth said. “If he had studied the actual situation in Germany, he would know that, while the many refugees who came to Germany and Europe pose a big challenge for us, and everything is still not completely resolved, they have not led to a massive increase in crime rates.”

In July, Merkel said there is no limit to the number of refugees her country would accept; 800,000 are expected this year. “As a strong, economically healthy country we have the strength to do what is necessary,” the chancellor said. For her part, Clinton has proposed allowing 10,000 to 65,000 Syrian refugees to enter the United States.

Photo credit: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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