Merkel was asked at her annual summer news conference whether there she still sees a basis of common values with Trump after he said the congresswomen should “go back” to their own countries if they don’t like America.
All of the congresswomen are Americans, and three of them were born in the United States.
“People of very different nationalities have contributed to the strength of the American people, so these are … comments that very much run counter to this firm impression that I have,” said Merkel. “This is something that contradicts the strength of America.”
Pressed later on whether she feels solidarity with the congresswomen, she replied: “Yes. I distance myself firmly from this and feel solidarity with the three women who were attacked.”
Trump actually targeted four freshman Democratic lawmakers – Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.
Merkel, a strong advocate of a multilateral approach to world affairs who took a welcoming approach to an influx of refugees and other migrants in 2015, has had a cool relationship with Trump.
Who are ‘the squad’?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley are among the most junior members of Congress.
Elected in November last year, the four are new to Washington politics.
But thanks to substantial social media followings and an inclination to be brash and outspoken, they wield significant influence within the Democratic Party.
The four are informally referred to as “the squad”.
They also represent the far-left of the caucus, with Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Ms Tlaib identifying as “Democratic socialists”.
The four draw a sharp contrast to the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives, who have just 13 women and a mere handful of non-white members.
The squad had been quibbling with Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the weekend over social media, but the animus was redirected after Mr Trump’s tweets.
“When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again,” Ms Pelosi said.
“Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.”
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