Chancellor Angela Merkel made a “catastrophic mistake” in letting immigrants flood into Germany, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said in a newspaper interview on Sunday, adding that his own “day one” order for America will be “strong borders.”
Speaking in a joint interview carried out by the U.K.’s The Times and Germany’s Bild newspapers, Trump said that he thought Merkel “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.”
“And nobody even knows where they come from. You’ll find out, you got a big dose of it a week ago. So I think she made a catastrophic mistake, very bad mistake.”
Trump said that Germany had “got a clear impression” of the consequences of Merkel’s policies from the December 19 terrorist attack in Berlin when a fake refugee used a hijacked truck to mow down a Christmas market crowd, killing 12.
Asked why he thought Brexit had happened, Trump told the journalists that “People don’t want to have other people coming in and destroying their country.
“And you know in this country we’re going [to] go very strong borders from the day I get in. One of the first orders I’m going to sign—day one—is going to be strong borders.
“We don’t want people coming in from Syria who we don’t know who they are. You know there’s no way of vetting these people. I don’t want to do what Germany did.”
Trump also said that the mass invasion of 2015 was “the final straw that broke the camel’s back” in convincing British voters to back leaving the European Union in a June 24th referendum.
He added that he thought “Brexit is going to end up being a great thing,” and that he would “quickly” arrange a trade deal with the U.K. to boost that country’s economy.
Asked if he still wanted to stop Muslims coming to the U.S., Trump replied, “Well, from various parts of the world that have lots of terrorism problems. There will be extreme vetting, it’s not going to be like it is now, they don’t even, we don’t even have real vetting. The vetting into this country is essentially non-existent as it is, as it was at least, with your country [Germany].”
The journalists then reminded Trump that during his campaign, he had described Merkel’s policies as “insane.” He was asked “Do you still think so?”
Trump answered as follows: “I think it’s not good. I think it was a big mistake for Germany. And Germany of all countries, because Germany was one of the toughest in the world for having anybody go in, and, uh, no I think it was a mistake. People make mistakes but I think it was a very big mistake. I think we should have built safe zones in Syria. Would have been a lot less expensive. Uh, get the Gulf states to pay for them who aren’t coming through, I mean they’ve got money that nobody has.
“[It] would have been a lot less expensive than the trauma that Germany’s going through now—but I would have said—you build safe zones in Syria.
“Look, this whole thing should have never happened. Iraq should not have been attacked in the first place, all right? It was one of the worst decisions, possibly the worst decision ever made in the history of our country.
“We’ve unleashed—it’s like throwing rocks into a beehive. It’s one of the great messes of all time. I looked at something, uh, I’m not allowed to show you because it’s classified—but, I just looked at Afghanistan and you look at the Taliban—and you take a look at every, every year its more, more, more, you know they have the different colors—and you say, you know—what’s going on?” he continued, adding that “nothing” in Afghanistan “is going well” either.
Trump was evasive when asked about further U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria, about his future relationship with Israel, the “Iran nuclear deal,” and whether he would move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying to most of those questions that he did not want to comment but would “see what happens.”