Rumor had it, Trump might tear down walls in Berlin | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 06.11.2016
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Rumor had it, Trump might tear down walls in Berlin

Will Donald Trump visit Berlin ahead of the US elections? No way! Or yes? A little report on the internet rattled Gero Schliess, driving the DW columnist to speculate on the outcome.

The tsunami which is inexorably moving in on Berlin bears a famous name: Donald Trump. In the worst case scenario, the US election monster wave will roll across Europe and come crashing into Berlin.

Donald Trump at the gate

Reports in the American media leave no doubt about it: "Trump to open state campaign headquarters in Berlin," it says in black and white. Trump "ante portas" - the brutal reality of it: Trump "before the gate"!

Gero Schließ

Correspondent Gero Schliess, who spent three years in the US, knows America's quirks

And most likely, it will be the Brandenburg Gate. This, after all, is a site which has made history countless times, not least when former US President Ronald Reagan went at Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev head on. For Republican presidential candidate Trump, the site could also offers massive PR potential.

Back then, in 1987, Reagan demanded "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!," referring, of course, to the Berlin Wall. The consequence of those words was later to become comparable to those of the trumpets of Jericho.

Sending love to Putin

And Trump? He could serve up a really sweet contrast program. It's also not out of the question that he will send his love to Moscow - to Gorbachev's post-successor Vladimir Putin, whom he continually admires. Something along the lines of: "Dear Sweet Vladimir, please tear down the walls of your heart." This would be followed by an exclusive reading of particularly nasty Clinton e-mails, for which the KGB will have written the perfect manuscript.

Graffiti in Lithuania: Putin and Trump kissing (Photo: P. Malukas/Getty Images/AFP)

Graffiti in Lithuania: Putin and Trump in love

Let's just admit it: If Trump were to turn up at the last minute in Berlin, the prospect is scary. Even if we Berliners would like to lighten the load on our American friends' shoulders, in eternal gratitude for the airlifts and candy bombers after the war, so to speak, that still doesn't mean we really want this man to leave as much a suitcase behind in Berlin, do we?

Involuntarily, the old Berlin hit song pops into my head: "You are crazy, my child; you've gotta go to Berlin." It almost seems as though the incarnate Donald has gratefully taken this challenge. The unscrupulous frivolity on the part of Berliners, who seldom consider the consequences of their behavior, could be fatal to us all. Trump doesn't even fit the mold of harmless Berlin craziness, embodied by comedians such as Mario Barth. Trump is not one of your normal jokesters. No, there is danger lurking behind this big mouth.

'I am Berlin' rather than 'I am a Berliner'

Berlin has overcome a lot of dangers, I think to myself. The pest and cholera, the Seven Years' War, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Honecker. But now Trump? Will the presidential candidate make a risky election campaign maneuver, change tack and ultimately overtake Hillary? Does he want to build on Barack Obama's much-celebrated Berlin speech, which helped to form the then relatively unknown Democratic candidate's image as a statesman and which supercharged his campaign?

Donald Trump smiling (Photo: Reuters/C. Allegri)

Donald Trump: just a wee too complacent?

Or does he actually want to reach for the stars and do what Kennedy did? Yet Trump's narcissism wouldn't make simply copying Kennedy's legendary comment even possible -  thank God. He wouldn't even get the big-hearted words "I am a Berliner" out of his mouth. It would be more like: "I am Berlin." Or, in capitalistic terms: "Berlin's mine."

It's possible that chronically cash-strapped Berliners hope to gain some sort of financial benefit from that. But watch out, Trump: It could go the other way. You are not the only one obsessed with walls, borders, and fences, which Mexicans are painfully experiencing at the moment. In Berlin, there is also a disastrous penchant for all that delineates borders and builds up boundaries, such as fences and walls. And that could also turn into something positive, for a change - and be used against you. It would be a kind of "anti-Trump firewall." We Berliners would even send the blueprint free of charge to the USA.

By the way, I took a closer look at the end of the report about the move of Donald Trump's election campaign headquarters. Following the name "Berlin" are the initials CT, meaning Connecticut - one of the 50 US states.

Whew, Berlin, Germany: What a stroke of luck.


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