German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term in the fall 2017 elections. Germany has long been considered the de facto leader of Europe, but as President Trump continues to undermine liberal democracy and freedom, surrounding himself with a coterie of white nationalists and engaging in an all out war with the media, the argument can be made that Angela Merkel is now the real leader of the free world.
The leader of the free world must be committed to defending the values of liberal democracy. President Trump has little interest in defending democracy. Since his inauguration, President Trump has threatened American institutions, assaulted international trade, attempted to tighten U.S. borders with an unlawful travel ban, and pandered in fear, paranoia and lies. Trump is about one thing: Trump. He sees his role as President as a global reality TV show, one in which he gets to play the master of ceremonies.
Chancellor Merkel has stood up to Trump’s racism, bigotry and bullying. She’s defended her decision on refugees and been the leading European voice against Trump’s travel ban. Having grown up in East Germany, a Communist autocracy, Merkel is familiar with President Trump’s brand of political tactics.
As Britain prepares the leave the European Union, and France and the Netherlands wrestle with a surge in populism, it’s up to Chancellor Merkel and Germany to be the West’s guiding light. There’s a reason why Angela Merkel was Time’s “Person of the Year” in 2015. She’s a leader, which is something that President Trump will never be.