Horst Seehofer, Bavaria’s premier and head of the Christian Social Union, the sister party to Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, praised Donald Trump’s “political style” in an interview with German tabloid Bild am Sonntag, claiming it was different “than anything we have been used to in Europe for decades.”
Mr. Seehofer went on to applaud the “consistency” and “speed” with which Mr. Trump had implemented his election promises point for point. “In Germany, we would first constitute a working group, then a test group and then an implementation group,” said Mr. Seehofer, adding that this does not mean that he considers all of Mr. Trumps decisions to be correct.
On Friday, Mr. Trump signed an executive order halting travel by people with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and stopping the resettlement of refugees for 120 days. The travel ban sparked massive protests at major airports across the U.S. and led to criticism from several foreign leaders including Ms. Merkel.
Only on Wednesday, the U.S. president signed two executive orders directing construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces, and increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations, leading to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceling a meeting with Mr. Trump that had been set for next week.
Meanwhile, Mr. Seehofer’s statement was met with harsh criticism in Germany. Green politician Claudia Roth called them “simply a disaster” and “a declaration of bankruptcy for a value-oriented policy.”
“Seeing as how Horst Seehofer is setting up the CSU today, I do not know with whom the CSU would want to form a coalition with other than the AfD,” SPD vice-president Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland newspaper group, referring to the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany.
Jürgen Hardt, the government’s coordinator for trans-Atlantic relations, told Deutschlandfunk radio, he could not explain how Mr. Seehofer could consider “this type of populist actionism” to be wise politics.
On Monday, Mr. Seehofer distanced himself from Mr. Trump’s travel ban. “I think this decision – and there are a few others – is not right,” he said in Munich.