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Mayor of New York warns Trump over illegal immigrants

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has told US President-elect Donald Trump that the city is "fearful" of his incoming administration. De Blasio said he expressed concerns about Trump's policies towards illegal immigrants. After visiting Manhattan's Trump Tower on Wednesday, where the billionaire president-elect is building his team to lead the country, de Blasio said he would do all he can to prevent the large-scale deportation of immigrants. Vowing to obstruct Trump's campaign pledge to expel millions of undocumented immigrants, the liberal mayor said the billionaire's stance "flew in the face of all that was great about New York City." No word on Trump's responses "I tried to express to him how much fear there is - how much fear there is in communities all over this city," de Blasio told reporters after the meeting. "I reiterated to him that this city and so many cities around the country will do all we can to protect our residents and to make sure that families are not torn apart." New York's foreign born population is 37 percent, according to census data, compared to the national average of 13 percent. De Blasio said their talk was "candid" and "respectful" but he had told Trump immigrant families should not be torn apart by deportations. Later he tweeted that he had warned the property tycoon against an abandoned police tactic supported by Trump of stopping and searching people on the street. After last week's shock Trump win, the Democrat mayor said the city would delete the names of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have received a city ID card, to stop the incoming administration from identifying or deporting them. As well as New York, the mayors of six other US cities including Los Angeles and Washington DC have vowed to protect immigrants from being deported. Trump backtracks Since the election, Trump has softened his pledge to banish 11 million illegal migrants, to just those with criminal records, or who are gang members or drug dealers. As well as migration, De Blasio said they had also discussed the need for tougher Wall Street regulation and increased protection of the rights of minorities including Muslims. During the US presidential election campaign de Blasio described the Republican candidate as "dangerous" and unqualified to lead the country. Trump, in turn, has called de Blasio "the worst mayor" in the country.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has told US President-elect Donald Trump that the city is “fearful” of his incoming administration. De Blasio said he expressed concerns about Trump’s policies towards illegal immigrants. After visiting Manhattan’s Trump Tower on Wednesday, where the billionaire president-elect is building his team to lead the country, de Blasio said he would do all he ... Read More »

Obama and Merkel talk Trump and Putin in Berlin

Barack Obama has had a private dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. They were expected to discuss Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Syria, ahead of talks with other EU leaders on Friday. Obama - on the final leg of his last trip to Europe as president of the US - and Merkel are expected to hold talks on Thursday followed by a news conference at which they will raise the issue of Syria, a source told the Reuters news agency. The talks are scheduled for Thursday at 3:15 p.m. (1415 UTC) at the chancellory, while European leaders and Obama will meet on Friday to discuss extending sanctions against Russia for its intervention in Ukraine, and possible new sanctions for its bombing in Syria. The Kremlin has said it is maintaining a moratorium on air strikes in the city of Aleppo. Obama has previously praised Merkel "a trusted partner" and supported her over the refugee crisis, while Merkel's congratulatory message to Trump following his victory in the November 8 election was somewhat perfunctory. Key issues Trump has signalled a possible rapprochement with Russia, raising doubts about the future of the sanctions regime introduced by Washington and Brussels in 2014 following Russia's intervention in Ukraine. A German official told the DPA news service that the plan was to agree a rollover of EU sanctions against Russia, which are due to expire at the end of January, in the coming weeks. European leaders will want clarity from Obama, who met Trump last week and said afterwards the president-elect would maintain core relationships around the world, including with NATO. European officials fear that Russia will use the time before Trump's inauguration to launch new offensives in Syria and Ukraine. Two diplomatic sources said the issue of Syria would also come up at the Friday meeting.

Barack Obama has had a private dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. They were expected to discuss Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Syria, ahead of talks with other EU leaders on Friday. Obama – on the final leg of his last trip to Europe as president of the US – and Merkel are expected to hold talks on ... Read More »

Donald Trump’s vision for Syria

The US president-elect's view of the Syrian conflict has remained one of his few consistent positions. But Donald Trump has said that if he did attack the Syrian regime, "it would be by surprise." "I've had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria," US President-elect Donald Trump told American newspaper "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ) last week. As the self-proclaimed billionaire prepares to enter the White House, questions have arisen regarding his policy on Syria, which has witnessed popular protests transform into a multipronged conflict since 2011. But behind the populist slogans and divisive rhetoric, Trump has offered fragments of a blueprint for his vision of the conflict, highlighting a focus on combating the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group in lieu of pursuing an aggressive policy on President Bashar al-Assad's brutal regime. "My attitude was you're fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria … Now we're backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are," Trump said, referring to the IS by its other acronym, which stands for "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria." "We end up fighting Russia, fighting Syria," if the US attacks Assad, he told WSJ. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is tipped to be a top candidate for the Secretary of State position, said on Tuesday that Trump's foreign policy in the region would hone in on dismantling the "Islamic State." "ISIS … is the greatest danger, and not because ISIS in Iraq and in Syria, but because ISIS did something al-Qaeda never did - ISIS was able to spread itself around the world," Giuliani said, according to American broadcaster CNN. Opposing regime change It should come as no surprise that Trump opposes military interventions aimed at toppling governments, making it a policy point to "end the current strategy of nation-building and regime change," as his campaign website states. In numerous instances, he has lambasted Washington's support for "moderate" rebels fighting to overthrow the Assad regime. In an interviewed aired by CBS' "This Morning" show in February, Trump questioned the ultimate aim of supplying armed opposition groups in Syria. "Assad's no baby, he's not good. But who are the people we are backing?" Trump said. "We're giving all this money and all of this equipment to people we have no idea who they are. They're probably worse than Assad," he added. One of the show's presenters asked whether better ties with Russia would allow him to pressure Moscow for Assad to step aside. "Well, they've been trying to do that. Could I? I don't think it's that important, to be honest with you. I think, frankly, you get rid of Assad or you knock out that government, who is going to take over, the people that we're backing? Then you're going to have (something) like Libya," he said. Since his unprecedented electoral victory earlier this month, the CBS interview has been circulated widely across social media platforms as an example of his foreign policy vision. 'But if I did' attack Syria If any of Trump's positions have witnessed a degree of consistency, it has been his take on Washington's role in the Syrian conflict. In September 2013, at a moment of heated debate across the US on whether Obama would launch a military campaign in Syria aimed at ousting Assad, Trump scrambled to his Twitter account to offer his input. "Many Syrian 'rebels' are radical jihadis. Not our friends and supporting them doesn't serve our national interest." When asked by another Twitter user what we would do about the situation if he was president, he said: "I'd let them all fight with each other - (and) focus on US." "But if I did (attack), it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools," he added. "What I am saying is stay out of Syria." Obama's policy to support "moderate" rebels stemmed from the Assad regime's brutal repression of opposition forces. According to UN figures, more than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2011, when the Syrian army launched a violent crackdown on peaceful protesters demanding Assad to step down. But Trump's remarks not only represent a departure on Washington's policy on Assad's Syria. They also reflect a marked shift towards counterterrorism operations at the expense of human rights, echoed in his comments to send alleged terrorists to Guantanamo and reintroduce torture tactics. While it is unclear who Trump refers to in his campaign promises when he cites working "with our Arab allies and friends in the Middle East" to defeat the militant group, signs point to his administration's consideration of the Assad regime in that plot as a potential partner at best and a "bad" guy at worst.

The US president-elect’s view of the Syrian conflict has remained one of his few consistent positions. But Donald Trump has said that if he did attack the Syrian regime, “it would be by surprise.” “I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,” US President-elect Donald Trump told American newspaper “Wall Street Journal” (WSJ) last week. As the self-proclaimed ... Read More »

Assad: Trump could be ‘natural ally’ against terrorism

The Syrian President has said Donald Trump could be an ally if his actions match his campaign rhetoric. Trump has signalled his foreign policy will be less hostile to the Assad regime than the Obama administration's. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview that US president-elect Donald Trump could be a "natural ally," if he follows through on his pledge to fight "terrorists" and overcomes "countervailing forces" in the US administration. Making his first public reaction to Trump's victory in last week's election, Assad said he was unsure if the incoming president would stay true to his campaign rhetoric about focusing more on fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS) group and less on Syrian regime forces. "We cannot tell anything about what he's going to do, but if... he is going to fight the terrorists, of course we are going to be ally, natural ally in that regard with the Russian, with the Iranian, with many other countries," Assad told Portugal's RTP state television. In a marked departure from the Obama administration, Trump has suggested his foreign policy will be less hostile to Assad's government. The Syrian regime is currently mired in a four-way civil war that also involves mainly Islamist rebels, the IS jihadist group, and leftist Kurdish forces. "I would say this is promising, but can he deliver?" Assad said. "Can he go in that regard? What about the countervailing forces within the administration, the mainstream media that were against him? How can he deal with it?" he added. The United States is currently leading an international coalition carrying out air strikes against IS in Syria and Iraq. It is also supporting rebels battling the Assad government. On Tuesday, Syrian government aircraft bombed the besieged rebel-held city of Aleppo for the first time in three weeks, activists said. In an interview with The New York Times in March, Trump said he thought "the approach of fighting Assad and (IS) simultaneously was madness, and idiocy". "You can't be fighting two people that are fighting each other, and fighting them together. You have to pick one or the other," Trump said. Trump has also pledged to improve relations with Assad's main ally in the war, Russia. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with Trump in which the two pledged to combine efforts to tackle international terrorism and extremism.

The Syrian President has said Donald Trump could be an ally if his actions match his campaign rhetoric. Trump has signalled his foreign policy will be less hostile to the Assad regime than the Obama administration’s. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview that US president-elect Donald Trump could be a “natural ally,” if he follows through on his ... Read More »

Donald Trump and Russian President Putin hold phone call, Kremlin says

In their first call since the US election, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have said they will cooperate in tackling terrorism and extremism. Both also noted the "extremely unsatisfactory state of Russian-US relations." In a statement late on Monday, the Kremlin confirmed that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have spoken on the telephone for the first time since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton last Tuesday in the US presidential election. During the phone call, the Russian president and US president-elect reportedly agreed to "channel" relations between Russia and the US and "combine efforts to tackle international terrorism and extremism." Trump's transition office said the two men also discussed "strategic economic issues," and that Trump was "very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia." Putin was one of the first foreign leaders to congratulate the president-elect on his victory at the polls last week. Tense US-Russian relations During their conversation, Putin and Trump noted "the extremely unsatisfactory state of Russian-US relations at present" and "declared the need for active joint work to normalize them," the Kremlin statement said. It added that any dialogue should be based on "equality, mutual respect and non-intervention in each other's internal affairs." Ahead of Trump entering the White House in January, both men said they will continue to stay in contact by phone and work towards meeting in person. Trump will take office on Januray 20, replacing Barack Obama whose relations with Putin have become tense over various issues including the Syrian conflict and Ukraine.

In their first call since the US election, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have said they will cooperate in tackling terrorism and extremism. Both also noted the “extremely unsatisfactory state of Russian-US relations.” In a statement late on Monday, the Kremlin confirmed that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have spoken on the telephone for the first time since Trump defeated ... Read More »

Hillary Clinton blames FBI’s Comey for election loss to Trump

Hillary Clinton has blamed FBI director James Comey for her election loss, reportedly saying a probe into her emails tipped the scales for Donald Trump. Meanwhile, thousands continue to rally against Trump across the US. Hillary Clinton claimed on Saturday that in reopening a probe into her controversial email practices, FBI director James Comey had eroded the momentum her campaign had gained in the weeks leading up to the November 8 election, US media reported Saturday. Clinton told top donors in a conference call that "there are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful," according to a person on the call, Quartz and CNN reported. "But our analysis is that Jim Comey's letter raising doubts that were groundless [and] baseless - and proven to be - stopped our momentum." October surprise Clinton had been ahead in all major polls leading up to last Tuesday's vote, which ushered in a surprise victory for Donald Trump and the Republicans. On October 28, Comey jolted the presidential race when he told Congress that the FBI was once again examining Clinton's use of a private server while secretary of state after new emails were discovered in another investigation into former congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of close Clinton aide Huma Abedin. On November 6, two days before the vote, Comey sent another letter to Congress stating that a review of Weiner's emails had revealed no wrongdoing, and that the FBI was sticking with its July recommendation not to charge Clinton. In July, Comey had said that while the FBI would not charge Clinton her email practices were "extremely careless." Trump had made a major issue of Clinton's email practices during the campaign, famously threatening to throw her in prison during one of the presidential debates. While the first Comey letter reopened voter concerns over the email issue, Clinton said the second letter clearing her of wrongdoing allowed Trump to reinforce his message that the system was rigged. The FBI director's letters to Congress days before the election led to accusations that the bureau was politicized and interfering in the election, an accusation President Barack Obama said he believed was not true. Anti-Trump protests continue Meanwhile, thousands of protesters across the United States continued to rally against Trump on Saturday, accusing the president-elect of bigotry, sexism and racism. The largest rallies were in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, where protesters chanted "Not my president!" In New York, thousands marched to Trump Tower, the president-elect's skyscraper home where the transition team is headquartered. The protests have further polarized the nation as Trump supporters, some of whom said they would not accept a Clinton win before the election, are now accusing those on the streets of not respecting the outcome of the vote.

Hillary Clinton has blamed FBI director James Comey for her election loss, reportedly saying a probe into her emails tipped the scales for Donald Trump. Meanwhile, thousands continue to rally against Trump across the US. Hillary Clinton claimed on Saturday that in reopening a probe into her controversial email practices, FBI director James Comey had eroded the momentum her campaign ... Read More »

Berlusconi: Trump could correct Obama’s mistakes

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has opened up the Italian media about being compared to US President elect Donald Trump. He also used the opportunity to slam Barack Obama for creating "instability." "There are similarities between me and Trump, but I don't embody the right-wing," former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Saturday. In the same interview, Berlusconi condemned US President Barack Obama for destabilizing the world by promoting the Arab Spring. The comparison is an easy one to draw, and not only because of a common penchant for sexist and offensive statements or perennial roles as lawsuit defendants. In 1993, then a highly successful media magnate, Berlusconi rose to power as the leader of the newly-founded nationalist and populist Forza Italia party. He has allegedly admitted he entered politics to enjoy parliamentary immunity as he found the legal complaints against his businesses piling up. Over three nonconsecutive terms, the tycoon went on to become Italy's longest-serving prime minister since World War II. 'Let Trump work' Berlusconi told Corriere della Sera that Italy was in no position to criticize the US' choice: "Donald Trump will demonstrate his ability to govern his country….the discussion [in Italy] does not make sense. It only shows a small-minded superiority complex towards America that Italian politicians are not entitled to." Then, referring to a series of unelected prime ministers installed after political crises, including current leader Matteo Renzi, the Forza Italia president said that at least the US government was chosen by its citizens. The mogul said he believed Clinton lost because she was "an element of continuity from the eight years of Obama and the Washington establishment. Obama has made many mistakes, especially in international politics. The encouragement of the so-called Arab Spring, inefficient opposition towards Islamic fundamentalism, counterproductive tensions with Russia. He has weakened America's position and made the world a more unstable and dangerous place." When comparing himself to Trump, however, Berlusconi played up his more humble origins when compared to the president elect, who famously got a 14 million dollar loan from his father to start out his businesses. All in all, though, Berlusconi said he respected Trump's decision to eschew political correctness and focus on "the weak citizens harassed by the state, taxes, bureaucracy, uncontrolled immigration, unemployment and the danger of terrorism." "Americans have chosen Trump. Now let him work." Italian referendum next test for the right-wing While many have pointed to France's spring election as the next big test for right-wing populism in the West, a December referendum in Italy could spell the return of a nationalist majority in Rome. In an effort to streamline a system that has been, if more democratic, then perhaps less stable in comparison to other Western countries, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has prepared a referendum on restricting the size of the Italy's at time unwieldy parliament and giving the central government more power. If the opposition "No," vote prevails, Renzi has vowed to step down. Berlusconi, of course, is a staunch "No" supporter, telling the newspaper that he hoped "the same spirit" that saw Americans reject "politics as usual" would encourage "Italisn to vote 'No' in a referendum that limits their freedom of choice." The former prime minister then accused Renzi of trying to install an authoritarian regime.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has opened up the Italian media about being compared to US President elect Donald Trump. He also used the opportunity to slam Barack Obama for creating “instability.” “There are similarities between me and Trump, but I don’t embody the right-wing,” former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Saturday. In the ... Read More »

OSCE election monitors looking at voter registration issues in southern US states

The head of the OSCE’s election observer mission in the US tells DW that the organization is looking at voter registration and voter identity issues in some southern US states. DW: You have had long-time observers in the US for some time now. What is your assessment of the election proceedings so far? Dame Audrey Glover: We have been watching everything from the time we have been here which was the second of October and our mission opened on the fourth of October. Our long-term observers came one week later and we deployed them around the country. They have been looking at local electoral procedures, politicians, local election authorities, civil society and the media. Our media monitoring team are monitoring the media all day long so we are getting a full picture of the whole electoral process. And of course waiting for tomorrow. Is there anything so far in the whole set-up of the elections that is noteworthy or interesting to you? We are watching the election from the point of view of the voter. That's our concern, the voter and the electoral process rather than the individuals. We really don't mind who wins. And so things like voter registration and voter identity have been issues we have been looking at because we see the election from the voters' point of view because we want to be sure that they can make a choice between the various candidates and that the candidates have a platform to produce their campaign. And then we want to make sure that they are able to vote, that they can be registered to vote and know where to go and that they can actually vote and be sure that the vote be kept safely and also be counted. So we are concerned with how the actual voter is doing. And so how does it look right now? As I said we are looking in some areas at voter registration and voter identity issues. In what areas of the US? In certain parts of the country like North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, we have been looking at those areas. But as I said we are looking at the whole electoral process, we are not just concentrating on those particular areas. We are looking at everywhere and just seeing at what is going on. What you have seen in those states has that given you pause or concern? We are taking this into account along with everything else that we are looking at. You mentioned that you have a media monitoring contingent which is timely because as you know the media and its conduct has been a big part of this campaign. Especially Donald Trump has complained that he has been treated unfairly by the media. What is your analysis so far of the conduct of the media here? You have a very wide spread of media and so there is a lot for the individual to actually look at and to chose from. Everyone can look at these different media outlets and take what information they want and decide whichever way they wish to do so. So obviously individuals are going to make statements and claims and allegations, but we regard them as allegations until there is any proof given for what they are saying. So this is part of the whole scene. It is certainly a very vibrant media that is for sure and there is no lack of it. Another important issue in this campaign has been Donald Trump's repeated claims made long before early voting started that the process is rigged. Did you find any merit in these claims so far? During the course of an election process one hears all kinds of allegations. We hear them, but as long as they are allegations and there is no proof we just treat them as allegations. We deal in fact and so we would need proof. So you couldn't verify any of these allegations? We wouldn't even begin to try, because it's not for us, it's for the authorities in this country to deal with them. And what we are looking at is how the authorities here deal with these allegations. It is not for us, we are observers, we're not policemen. Dame Audrey Glover heads the OSCE's election observer mission in the US. The interview was conducted by Michael Knigge in Washington.

The head of the OSCE’s election observer mission in the US tells DW that the organization is looking at voter registration and voter identity issues in some southern US states. DW: You have had long-time observers in the US for some time now. What is your assessment of the election proceedings so far? Dame Audrey Glover: We have been watching ... Read More »

Clinton and Trump make final pitches in battleground states

The latest polls have put Hillary Clinton slightly ahead of Donald Trump as the candidates wrap up a round of final rallies. Over 40 million have already cast their ballots as the bitter White House battle nears its end. Hours before the first polling stations in the US opened for Tuesday's election, polls put Democratic candidate Clinton ahead of Republican candidate Trump as both candidates held rallies around the country that lasted into the night on Monday. A RealClearPolitics average of national polls showed Clinton holding a widening but still narrow 3.2 percentage point lead over Trump in a four-way race with fringe candidates Libertarian Gary Johnson and Jill Stein with the Green Party. An Economist-YouGov opinion poll of over 3,000 likely voters showed Clinton winning with 45 percent to Trump's 41 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points. The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project gave Clinton a 90 percent chance of defeating Trump on Tuesday, but still anticipated tight races in vote-rich states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. As per US tradition, the town of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire kicked off voting at midnight (0500 UTC). The rest of the nation was to follow a few hours later as most polling stations opened between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. local times. Battleground rallies Clinton held the largest rally of her campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Monday night, drawing a crowd of some 33,000 according to the city's Fire Department. She was joined by her husband former US President Bill Clinton as well as current President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. Rock stars Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen also played for the cheering Philadelphia crowd. "There is a clear choice in this election. A choice between division or unity, an economy that works for everyone, or only for those at the top; between strong, steady leadership, or a loose cannon who could put everything at risk," Clinton told the crowd, taking aim at her Republican rival. Following the rally, Clinton headed to Raleigh, North Carolina - another key battleground state - for a midnight rally with pop star Lady Gaga. Trump was also pushing for last minute support on Monday, jetting from Florida to North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. "Do you want America to be ruled by the corrupt political class, or do you want America to be ruled, again, by the people?" he said at a rally in New Hampshire. During the rally, he said he would tear up free trade deals, close up borders and exclude Syrian refugees whom he regarded as potential terrorists. "I am with you and I will fight for you and we will win." Trump's final rally of the night was to take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan - a historically Democrat state, but one the Republican candidate was hoping to flip into his column come Tuesday. Record early voting - and a ballot from space A record number of US citizens at home, abroad and even in outer space took advantage of early voting measures this year. According to Associated Press data, at least 43.2 million people cast ballots through the mail or at polling stations ahead of Tuesday. The figure could top 50 million as ballots continued rolling in. The record levels have been reported in 23 states as well as the District of Columbia. Turnout from Latino voters has surged nationally and may help boost Clinton in Florida - a key swing state for both candidates - while initial numbers for African American voters show a drop-off after historic turnouts in 2008 and 2012 for Obama. Shane Kimbrough, the lone US-astronaut currently in outer space, also cast his vote from the International Space Station, NASA said on Monday. US astronauts have been able to vote from space since 1997, voting in the state of Texas where most of them live near Houston's NASA Mission Control and Johnson Space Center. There was no word on who Kimbrough voted for. States on the east coast of the US will close their polls around 7 p.m. (0000 UTC). Final results are expected around 11 p.m. EST (0400 UTC) when polling stations on the West Coast close.

The latest polls have put Hillary Clinton slightly ahead of Donald Trump as the candidates wrap up a round of final rallies. Over 40 million have already cast their ballots as the bitter White House battle nears its end. Hours before the first polling stations in the US opened for Tuesday’s election, polls put Democratic candidate Clinton ahead of Republican ... Read More »

German President Gauck fears US election victory for ‘unpredictable’ Trump

German President Joachim Gauck has voiced concerns about the prospect of Donald Trump winning the US presidential election. A new poll has also found 77 percent of Germans fear strained US-German relations if Trump wins. With just two days to go until the US presidential election, German President Joachim Gauck told German weekly "Der Spiegel" on Sunday that Donald Trump's "unpredictability" was a cause for concern. "We can't say what could be expected from a President Donald Trump," Gauck said, adding that for him, like many people both in the US and Germany, "this constitutes a problem." "When I look at Washington, I am worried," Gauck said. The German president said, however, that he hoped " American democracy, which does not allow the president to act as an autocrat, that the system of checks and balances, of mutual control" of power would be upheld. It is unusual for the German head of state to comment on political events in other countries. However, despite holding a largely ceremonial role Gauck has not been shy of engaging in political discourse. Fears of strained German-US relations A new poll published by the Emnid organization on Sunday showed 77 percent of Germans fear strains in US-German relations if Trump wins Tuesday's election. In comparison, 67 percent of participants said they expected Germany's already close ties with the US to remain unchanged if Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was elected. Among Germany's top concerns are Trump's stances on Russia and on the NATO alliance, of which Germany and the US are both members. In July, many were shocked after the Republican hopeful said that if Russia attacked a NATO member, he would consider whether the targeted country had met its defense commitments before providing military aid. Norbert Roettgen, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and head of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee, said he also expected German-US relations to come under pressure if Trump wins. "The election of Trump as president would put a historic burden on the German-American relationship," Roettgen told "Bild am Sonntag" newspaper. "It would lead to the worst estrangement in German-U.S. relations since the Vietnam War," he said. 'Both candidates welcome in Bavaria' Horst Seehofer, Bavarian state premier and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Merkel's CDU, told "Bild am Sonntag," however, that either of the candidates would be welcomed in Bavaria if they won. "If the American people vote for a person in a democratic election, then the democrats in Germany and Bavaria must accept it," Seehofer said. "We can't go around acting like the headteacher of the whole world." In the latest Washington Post-ABC Tracking Poll released early on Sunday, Clinton was leading with 48 percent, compared to Trump's 43 percent.

German President Joachim Gauck has voiced concerns about the prospect of Donald Trump winning the US presidential election. A new poll has also found 77 percent of Germans fear strained US-German relations if Trump wins. With just two days to go until the US presidential election, German President Joachim Gauck told German weekly “Der Spiegel” on Sunday that Donald Trump’s ... Read More »

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