There was a certain irony to the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama chose this week to personally praise his German counterpart for her handling of the refugee crisis.
“I want to personally thank Chancellor Merkel and [Canadian] Prime Minister Trudeau, and the people of both those countries – because the politics sometimes can be hard, but it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday.
His comments, at a special United Nations summit on refugees in New York, came just one day after Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed regret over errors made in her government’s handling of the crisis. Her mea culpa was aimed not at Mr. Obama but at domestic voters who have grown wary of her open-door refugee policy and punished her Christian Democratic Union party in two recent regional elections.
The electoral defeats have many within Ms. Merkel’s own party worried. For the first time, there have been questions raised over whether the chancellor should run for a fourth term in federal elections next year.
Ms. Merkel even canceled her own trip to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly this week in order to address growing concerns among party members at a meeting on Monday.