By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) - Joining an international chorus of condemnation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday sharply criticized U.S. President Donald Trump over his "racist comments" about four minority Democratic congresswomen.
Taking questions at a news conference in Berlin, Merkel stressed that immigrants make major contributions to the U.S. and made America a strong country.
“These comments… contravene what makes America strong,” she stressed.
Asked whether she felt solidarity with the minority congresswomen, Merkel said “Yes” without hesitation.
“I strongly distance myself from these statements and feel solidarity with the women,” she said.
Trump kicked off the firestorm on Sunday when, using a racist slur, he told a group of progressive Democratic congresswomen on Twitter to "go back" to the "totally broken and crime infested" countries they come from.
He initially declined to indicate whom he was referring to but on Tuesday quoted a former congressman who referred to them as "the squad", a colloquialism that refers to freshmen Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.
All were all born in the U.S. except Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia. All are Americans of color who were duly elected to serve in Congress.
On Tuesday, in a mostly party-line vote, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives voted to condemn Trump’s "racist" comments.