German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel criticized leading U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and said his views presented a threat to peace and prosperity. The comments, made in an interview to a German newspaper Sunday, highlighted the growing concern among ruling politicians in Europe over Trump’s ascent in the U.S. presidential race.
Speaking to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Gabriel, Germany’s economy minister and leader of the Social Democrats, described Trump as a “right-wing populist” and said "whether Donald Trump, Marine le Pen or Geert Wilders — all these right-wing populists are not only a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development."
Trump, who announced his candidacy in June, has faced criticism from world leaders such as the United Kingdom’s David Cameron — who called his remarks “divisive, stupid and wrong” — as well as former Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud, a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family.
In Sunday’s interview, Gabriel dismissed Trump’s proposed economic reforms, and said that Trump and France's Le Pen were promising voters "a way back into a fairytale world" in which economic activity only happened within national borders. "But never in the history economies could develop into a self-imposed isolation," Gabriel added.
"We have to make the effort to explain how we want to shape globalization in a fair way," Gabriel said.
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Trump has opposed the White House’s push for international trade pacts, alleging that such deals were shipping jobs overseas, and would harm the U.S. working and middle class.
Trump has also often said that high duties targeting imports from countries such as China and Mexico would force companies to move production to the U.S and prevent U.S. companies from moving overseas. He also described German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open door policy towards refugees as "insane" and predicted it would cause rioting in Germany.
Pope Francis also weighed in on Trump's agenda, suggesting Trump “is not Christian” because of his campaign promises to deport more immigrants and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the border. Trump had reacted by calling the Pope's comments "disgraceful."
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed admiration for Trump, using adjectives such as "bright," "talented" and "lively" to describe the Republican candidate. A day after that, Trump had cited Putin's high popularity among Russians and called him "a leader."
Trump, who scored a decisive win in the Tuesday caucuses this week and also won two of the four states in voting Saturday, is ahead of other Republican candidates in at least eight states voting within the next week, according to polls.