‘Furious and saddened’: Merkel joins German politicians in calling out US Capitol mob

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her shock on Thursday over the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump and said the president shared blame for the unrest.

'Furious and saddened': Merkel joins German politicians in calling out US Capitol mob
Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, and tried to break through a police barrier. Photo: DPA

“I deeply regret that President Trump has not conceded his defeat, since November and again yesterday,” Merkel said, adding she was “furious and saddened.”

“Doubts about the election outcome were stoked and created the atmosphere that made the events of last night possible,” she said, adding that her shock was certainly shared by the “millions of people who admire America's democratic tradition”.

Angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the seat of the US parliament, on Wednesday to protest the certification of presidential election results after a fiery speech by the Republican falsely claiming the November win of Democrat Joe Biden was fraudulent. 

READ ALSO: German-US alliance 'on life support' after four years of Trump

Both chambers of Congress had to suspend their sessions, parliamentary halls were evacuated and members of parliament were taken to safety. One woman, reported to be a civilian, was killed in the riots for initial unclear reasons.

Merkel welcomed a statement by President-elect Joe Biden as well as “many reactions from both major parties of the US” which she said reassured her “that this democracy will prove to be much stronger than the attackers and rioters”.

She lamented the “tragic” loss of life in the chaotic scenes but said the fact that lawmakers had returned to work overnight was a “sign of hope”.

“Now it is clear with the confirmation of the election victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the United States of America will, as it should, in less than two weeks open a new chapter of its democracy,” she said.

“That means the forces of democracy have prevailed — that is something I always knew about the United States and expected.”

But she warned that the “disturbing” images from the Capitol would be seen “in other places around the world (as) not exactly a badge of good democratic processes”.

Merkel speaking in Berlin on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

“It is thus all the more important that the democrats prevailed,” she said.

On early Thursday morning, shaken members of Congress returned to certify Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win.

READ ALSO: 'The world may respect us more': How Americans in Germany reacted to US elections

'Unbearable attack on democracy'

Following the onslaught of violent protesters in the Capitol, several top German politicians and media expressed their disbelief and disgust.

“We came to realise how vulnerable even the oldest and most powerful democracy in the world is,” said German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday called on supporters of President Donald Trump to “stop trampling on democracy” after they stormed the US Capitol building in anger over his election defeat.

“Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of American voters and stop trampling on democracy,” Maas tweeted.

“The enemies of democracy will be pleased to see these incredible images from Washington DC,” he added. “Inflammatory words turn into violent actions.”

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is also the vice chancellor, likewise condemned the “disturbing images” from Washington.

“The peaceful transfer of power is the cornerstone of every democracy. A lesson once taught to the world by the USA. It is a disgrace that Trump is undermining it by inciting violence and destruction,” he tweeted.

Joe Biden, who beat Trump in November's election “has a tough job ahead to bring Americans back together again,” Scholz wrote.

Ursula van der Leyen, the German head of the European Commission, tweeted that “I believe in the strength of US institutions and democracy. Peaceful transition of power is at the core”

Several German media outlets expressed their outrage at the images they saw from the US, saying they more closely resemble those they have only seen elsewhere in the world.

The images “recall the scenario of a military coup or a Banana Republic gone off the rails,” wrote the Berliner Morgenpost.

It added that “Trump carries the blame” for inciting the violence and hatred which broke out.

Spiegel Online wrote that “every additional day with Trump in power damages the US,” adding that Trump has especially hurt the US and democratic values in his “last, darkest time in the presidency”.




Member comments

  1. I had a look at your link, Amazed it wasn’t wearing a MAGA hat. As truthful as a Trump tweet. Take your conspiracy theories elsewhere.

  2. Are we really supposed to believe that a handfull of ‘Patriots’ barged their way into the most secure house in the world. Com’on! This is another false-flag operation to divide the people.

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Sleep, seaside, potato soup: What will Merkel do next?

 After 16 years in charge of Europe's biggest economy, the first thing Angela Merkel wants to do when she retires from politics is take "a little nap". But what about after that?

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefly closes her eyes and smiles at a 2018 press conference in Berlin.
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefly closes her eyes at a 2018 press conference in Berlin. Aside from plans to take "a little nap" after retiring this week, she hasn't given much away about what she might do next. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

The veteran chancellor has been tight-lipped about what she will do after handing over the reins to her successor Olaf Scholz on December 8th.

During her four terms in office, 67-year-old Merkel was often described as the most powerful woman in the world — but she hinted recently that she will not miss being in charge.

“I will understand very quickly that all this is now someone else’s responsibility. And I think I’m going to like that situation a lot,” she said during a trip to Washington this summer.

Famous for her stamina and her ability to remain fresh after all-night meetings, Merkel once said she can store sleep like a camel stores water.

But when asked about her retirement in Washington, she replied: “Maybe I’ll try to read something, then my eyes will start to close because I’m tired, so I’ll take a little nap, and then we’ll see where I show up.”

READ ALSO: ‘Eternal’ chancellor: Germany’s Merkel to hand over power
READ ALSO: The Merkel-Raute: How a hand gesture became a brand

‘See what happens’
First elected as an MP in 1990, just after German reunification, Merkel recently suggested she had never had time to stop and reflect on what else she might like to do.

“I have never had a normal working day and… I have naturally stopped asking myself what interests me most outside politics,” she told an audience during a joint interview with Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

“As I have reached the age of 67, I don’t have an infinite amount of time left. This means that I want to think carefully about what I want to do in the next phase of my life,” she said.

“Do I want to write, do I want to speak, do I want to go hiking, do I want to stay at home, do I want to see the world? I’ve decided to just do nothing to begin with and see what happens.”

Merkel’s predecessors have not stayed quiet for long. Helmut Schmidt, who left the chancellery in 1982, became co-editor of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit and a popular commentator on political life.

Helmut Kohl set up his own consultancy firm and Gerhard Schroeder became a lobbyist, taking a controversial position as chairman of the board of the Russian oil giant Rosneft.

German writer David Safier has imagined a more eccentric future for Merkel, penning a crime novel called Miss Merkel: Mord in der Uckermark  that sees her tempted out of retirement to investigate a mysterious murder.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel forms her trademark hand gesture, the so-called “Merkel-Raute” (known in English as the Merkel rhombus, Merkel diamond or Triangle of Power). (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)

Planting vegetables
Merkel may wish to spend more time with her husband Joachim Sauer in Hohenwalde, near Templin in the former East Germany where she grew up, and where she has a holiday home that she retreats to when she’s weary.

Among the leisure activities she may undertake there is vegetable, and especially, potato planting, something that she once told Bunte magazine in an interview in 2013 that she enjoyed doing.

She is also known to be a fan of the volcanic island of D’Ischia, especially the remote seaside village of Sant’Angelo.

Merkel was captured on a smartphone video this week browsing the footwear in a Berlin sportswear store, leading to speculation that she may be planning something active.

Or the former scientist could embark on a speaking tour of the countless universities from Seoul to Tel Aviv that have awarded her honorary doctorates.

Merkel is set to receive a monthly pension of around 15,000 euros ($16,900) in her retirement, according to a calculation by the German Taxpayers’ Association.

But she has never been one for lavish spending, living in a fourth-floor apartment in Berlin and often doing her own grocery shopping.

In 2014, she even took Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to her favourite supermarket in Berlin after a bilateral meeting.

So perhaps she will simply spend some quiet nights in sipping her beloved white wine and whipping up the dish she once declared as her favourite, a “really good potato soup”.