Bannon Hails German Populists and Slams Merkel's `Incompetence'

(Bloomberg) -- Former U.S. presidential adviser Steve Bannon called German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policy incompetent and said a nationalist party that vilifies her is on the right track.

With political fallout from the 2015-16 refugee crisis still reverberating in Germany, President Donald Trump’s former political strategist accused Merkel of exposing other European Union countries to an uncontrolled influx of migrants, according to an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit.

“What’s happened because of Merkel, that was just a flood of migrants,” and “it’s Angela Merkel with her arrogance and incompetence that started this,” Bannon was quoted as saying.

In contrast, he expressed “tremendous faith” in leaders of the anti-immigration Alternative of Germany, or AfD, who “will make the issue of populism and nationalism more accessible to a younger audience” over time.

“If Germany has young leaders like that and people that I think represent them so well, that seem to be so articulate, that smart, the party is gonna be in pretty good shape,” he told Die Zeit, which said it interviewed Bannon in May during stops in Prague and Budapest.

Alternative for Germany took 12.6 percent of the vote in Germany’s election last year, becoming the first far-right party to enter parliament since just after World War II as Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc fell to historic lows. Polls suggest the AfD’s support now runs as high as 15.5 percent, compared with 32 percent to 34 percent for Merkel’s bloc.

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