Sunday, 13 October, 2019

After shaking episodes, Germany's Merkel says she is fit for work

German Chancellor Angela Merkel right smiles as she arrives for her annual sommer press conference in Berlin Germany Friday Angela Merkel ‘Stands in Solidarity’ With Congresswomen After Trump Attack
Patty Aguilar | 20 July, 2019, 13:32

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered an uncharacteristically blunt rebuke of President Donald Trump's attacks on minority congresswomen, saying the US leader's position undermines the values that helped make the country successful.

"I distance myself firmly from this and feel solidarity with the three women who were attacked", added Merkel, who has been as one of the last bastions of European liberal democracy amid the rise of populism across the continent.

Meanwhile, Merkel threw her weight behind her embattled new defence minister and heir-apparent, while insisting she herself was fit to carry on serving as chancellor through to the end of her term in 2021.

Trump then doubled down on the comments - against Omar, in particular - at a campaign rally in Greenville, NC, saying: "I said I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down".

Pressed by reporters about her health after it appeared she was shaking during several recent public appearances, Merkel, who turned 65 this week, brushed aside concerns. Her office has given no explanation for the shaking episodes.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, smiles as she arrives for her annual sommer press conference in Berlin, Germany on Friday. But she said she's aware of her responsibility as chancellor and "can exercise this function".

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Merkel announced a year ago that she would not seek reelection when her term expires in 2021.

Merkel attributed a slowdown in Germany's economy, Europe's largest, to "uncertainty in global trading relationships" and said the government would try to stimulate domestic demand.

Merkel still enjoys solid popularity ratings, but her party's performance in polls has been poor recently and it remains unclear who will be her party's candidate to succeed her as chancellor, a job she has held since 2005.

"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.

New Zealand's leader Jacinda Ardern said she "completely and utterly" disagreed with Trump.

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