Merkel Hits Back as Trump Doubles Down on German Crime Figures

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to President Donald Trump’s repeat assertions that crime has risen in Germany as a result of her liberal stance on migration, citing “encouraging” statistics that show the opposite to be true.

For the second straight day, the U.S. president waded into German domestic policy on Tuesday via his favored medium of Twitter. He asserted that crime in Germany has increased by more than 10 percent “since migrants were accepted,” saying that “officials do not want to report these crimes.”

Other countries are even worse, he said, drawing a link to the political battle in Washington over immigration and coupling his criticism with an attack on Democrats who he said “don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants.”

Merkel was asked about Trump’s latest intervention during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron outside Berlin on Tuesday, when they two leaders announced measures aimed at a Europe-wide reform of the migration system.

“My answer is this: the interior minister recently presented federal crime statistics and they speak for themselves,” Merkel said, describing “a slightly positive trend.”

“Of course, we always need to do more to fight crime,” she added. “But the numbers certainly were encouraging to keep working along those lines to further reduce crime.”

Violent crime fell by 2.4 percent in 2017, with the number of non-German suspects declining more than the number of German suspects, according to the government’s report. Overall reported crimes fell 9.6 percent, while the percentage of crimes committed by non-Germans also declined last year, the report showed.

Trump, who regularly lambastes Germany in his Twitter tirades, launched an unusually pointed attack on Merkel’s coalition on Monday, when as well as asserting that its migration policy was causing crime he suggested that Merkel was on the ropes.

“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” wrote Trump. “Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.