Chancellor Merkel was appalled by the violence in Washington – and blamed the elected President Trump. The pictures made her “angry and sad”. Federal President Steinmeier became even clearer.
The horror of the violence in the US Capitol by supporters of the elected President Donald Trump is great – including Chancellor Angela Merkel. The “disturbing images” would have made her “angry and also sad”. She blamed Trump for the escalation. “I very much regret that President Trump has not admitted his defeat since November and again not yesterday. Doubts about the election result were stoked.” That prepared the atmosphere for the events of the night to have become possible.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was even clearer: He spoke of an “armed mob, incited by an incumbent president”. The scenes are “the result of lies and even more lies, division and contempt for democracy, of hatred and agitation from the very highest level”.
Steinmeier recalls incidents at the Reichstag building
He condemned the occupation of the US Congress by Trump supporters as a “storm on the heart of democracy”. And he drew parallels between the violence in the US Congress and the incidents at the Berlin Reichstag building in August: “We do not forget those pictures of opponents of democracy occupying the steps of our Reichstag,” recalled the Federal President. “Democracy is our most precious asset and lives from the commitment of our citizens.”
That is why he is sending this message to everyone today: “Hatred and agitation endanger democracy, lies endanger democracy, violence endangers democracy.” In August, supporters of the so-called lateral thinkers movement tried to break into the building during a demonstration in Berlin.
Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble also feels reminded of the events at the Reichstag building. He now wants to examine what conclusions can be drawn from the riot to protect the Bundestag. In addition, a report was requested from the German embassy in Washington on how the excesses of violence could have come about within the Capitol.
Both Merkel and Steinmeier were confident about Joe Biden’s election victory. “The United States of America will open a new chapter of its democracy in less than two weeks, as it has to be,” said Merkel.
Horror and bewilderment
During the night, numerous politicians had already expressed their shock at the unprecedented chaos in the political center of the USA.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Twitter that Trump and his supporters “should finally accept the decision of American voters and stop trampling on democracy”. He recalled similar events in Berlin in the fall and went on to write: “Insurgent words become violent acts – on the steps of the Reichstag, and now in the #Capitol”. The social democrat warned that contempt for democratic institutions had “devastating effects.
The Foreign Office’s crisis center warned Germans in Washington via Twitter to be careful. “The security situation continues to be partly confusing. Avoid the area widely and follow the instructions of the security forces,” said a tweet.
Division becomes visible
Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz also made the US President directly responsible for the events. “President #Trump has deeply divided the country – now it shows how much,” said Scholz via Twitter. The minister described the protestors’ voices as an “unbearable attack on democracy”.
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Norbert Röttgen, turned his gaze on Trump’s Republicans: “Now is the last time when the Republicans can choose between democracy and Trump,” tweeted the candidate for the CDU presidency. Trump hounded against the institutions of democracy.
Von der Leyen sends a signal to Biden
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized her trust in the strength of US institutions and democracy. “A peaceful transfer of power is at the center,” she tweeted. “Joe Biden won the election. I look forward to working with him as the next US president,” she added.
EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell wrote: “In the eyes of the world, American democracy appears under siege tonight”. The EU chief diplomat spoke of an “invisible attack on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law”. “This is not America.” The presidential elections on November 3rd should be respected.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was “saddened” according to a spokesman. In these circumstances, it is now important that political leaders convince their supporters to refrain from violence, to respect the democratic process and the rule of law, said the Secretary General.
The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte wrote in a direct message to Trump: There are “terrible pictures from Washington,” tweeted Rutte. “Dear Mr. Trump, acknowledge Joe Biden’s election victory today.”
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described his impressions on Twitter as follows: “Shocked by the scenes in Washington”, Kurz tweeted in English. Now a peaceful and orderly transfer of power must be secured.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stressed that violence is “incompatible with the exercise of political rights and democratic freedoms”. The head of the center-left government said in a tweet that he trusts the strength of the United States’ institutions.
Johnson recalls principle
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “shameful scenes in the US Congress” on Twitter. A peaceful and orderly transfer of power is of central importance.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was extremely concerned on Twitter. He spoke of “shocking scenes”. The result of the “democratic election” must be respected.