RTE — Jan 16, 2017
NATO is “obsolete”, Germany’s Angela Merkel made a “catastrophic mistake” on refugees, Brexit will be “great” and he “couldn’t care less about” the plans for his Co Clare hotel, US President-elect Donald Trump has said.
Five days before his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, the billionaire populist let loose a torrent of controversial comments about European allies in interviews with British newspaper The Times and Germany’s Bild.
Mr Trump said Brexit “is going to end up as a great thing” and said he backed a trade deal with post EU Britain, which would be “good for both sides.”
“We’re gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly,” said Mr Trump, confirming he will meet British Prime Minister Theresa May soon after his inauguration on 20 January.
The pound took a hit this morning in early Asian trade after Britain said it might undercut the EU economically if it cannot obtain both single market access and immigration controls, with British media warning of a so called “hard Brexit”.
“Other countries will leave” the European Union in future, Mr Trump prophesied, largely due to the pressure the bloc was put under following a significant uptick in migrants and refugees arriving.
“If they hadn’t been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many, with all the problems that it … entails, I think that you wouldn’t have a Brexit. This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said.
Mr Trump also criticised Ms Merkel for letting Germany admit undocumented migrants enter the country, insinuating that this posed a security risk.
“I think she 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,” Mr Trump said, adding he had “great respect” for the chancellor.
Ms Merkel took flak at home after her open door policy aimed at desperate Syrian refugees brought 890,000 asylum seekers to Europe’s biggest economy in 2015, contributing to the rise of an anti migrant movement.
But in 2016, that figure dropped back sharply, to 280,000 arrivals the government said last Wednesday.