The president-in-waiting seems to be going after Germany now, trying to pick a fight with one of the U.S.’s top allies. In a joint interview with the German newspaper das Bild and Britain’s The Times, Donald Trump threatened German auto builders.
Trump sounded like a bully to our long-time European allies. He insisted he would place up to a 35 percent tariff on German automakers if they decided to build plants and infrastructure in Mexico. He said if the Germans assembled them there then sold them in the U.S., he would impose a tax. The near-president demanded that the Germans should build their cars in this country.
Sigmar Gabriel is Germany’s vice-chancellor and economy minister, and he rejected Trump’s threats, Monday. The vice-chancellor is a Social Democrat, and he is expected to run against the current president of Germany with center-right leanings Angela Merkel.
The Guardian reported that Gabriel said the punitive tariffs on the German auto builders producing their cars, including the BMW, in Mexico would make:
‘The US car industry would have a bad awakening if all the supply parts that aren’t being built in the US were to suddenly come with a 35% tariff.
‘I believe it would make the US car industry weaker, worse and above all more expensive. I would wait and see what the Congress has to say about that, which is mostly full of people who want the opposite of Trump.’
The Guardian reported that after the interview ran, Gabriel reassured the Europeans:
‘I think we Europeans shouldn’t somehow plunge into a deep, great depression.’
Gabriel told the Europeans that they should meet Trump’s diatribes with “confidence.”
‘I don’t underestimate what Trump says, especially regarding Nato and the EU, but a little bit of self-confidence would serve us well in such a situation.’
Gabriel told das Bild:
‘I believe BMW’s biggest factory is already in the US, in Spartanburg [South Carolina].’
Germans and Europeans “are not somehow inferior, we have something to offer,” Gabriel said.
During the interview, the billionaire accused Germany’s auto builders of not being fair. Trump’s reasoning was that many German cars travel U.S. streets and highways, but he sees few American cars in their country.
Gabriel wryly responded:
‘The U.S. needs to build better cars.’
Check out this video about Gabriel in action before the upcoming election against German President Angela Merkel:
Featured Image: Getty Images/Adam Barry.