The German foreign minister has voiced concern for the world if US presidential hopeful Donald Trump is elected. His criticism is a departure from the neutrality practiced by Chancellor Merkel.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wednesday once more criticized US presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying that Trump's comments gave cause to worry about the future of the world if he were to be elected in November.
Spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli said that Steinmeier was not shying away from taking sides.
"He [Steinmeier] is indeed not neutral on this question, because he thinks that if you follow what Trump is saying, then you need to be really scared about what could become of this world ... if [Trump] does in fact become president," Chebli told a regular government news conference.
Steinmeier's remarks contrast strongly with the previous reticence of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Deputy government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Wednesday reiterated Merkel's stance, saying the chancellor did not wish to interfere in the US election campaign.
Steinmeier is from the center-left Social Democrats, who are the junior partner in Merkel's conservative-led ruling coalition.
Trump, who is the Republican candidate to run for the White House against Democrat Hillary Clinton, has often caused controversy or even outrage during his campaign with comments about women, Mexicans, Muslims and war veterans, to name just a few.
Last week, Steinmeier classed Trump among what he said was a growing group of "hate preachers" who were using fear as a political instrument. He also put the populist German party Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the same category.
His views on Trump are shared by many even within the US Republican party, with 50 prominent national security officials on Monday saying the real estate billionaire was unqualified to lead the country and would be "the most reckless president in American history."
Trump again fueled controversy on Tuesday by suggesting that gun rights activists had the potential to stop Democratic rival Hillary Clinton from nominating liberal US Supreme Court judges, with some seeing his remarks as inciting violence.
However, recent surveys show he still has the support of more than a third of US voters, although Hillary Clinton has taken a good lead.
tj/msh (Reuters, dpa)