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WORLD | 05-11-2020 18:51

Germany chides Trump, asks him to let all US votes be counted

Trump’s appeal to end the counting of ballots “doesn’t comply with the democratic culture” of the United States, says German foreign minister.

Germany called on Donald Trump to play by the rules and accept the result of the US presidential election in what amounted to a rare diplomatic foray by a key Western ally.

Trump’s appeal to end the counting of ballots “doesn’t comply with the democratic culture” of the U.S., German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told public broadcaster ARD on Thursday.

“It’s easy to be a winner, but sometimes it’s quite hard to be a loser,” he said. “It’s important that in the end the result will be accepted by everybody.”

Until now, European leaders have chosen to keep quiet on the unfolding political drama in United States, and await a final resolution. Germany has a track record of keeping a low profile when it comes to foreign policy and avoiding controversial positions.

In this case, it’s taking a clear stand in trying to steer Trump to accept whatever the result is when it comes. With Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead in key states, Trump has suggested the ballot represents a “major fraud on our nation,” and threatened to take the results to the Supreme Court.

“This is first of all the Trump family and his close campaign team,” Maas said. “I can imagine that there are also a number of proud Republicans who follow with growing suspicion what is happening there.”

The Trump campaign has filed election-related lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia and says it intends to do so in Nevada.

Since Trump came to power, relations with Germany have deteriorated. In 2017, he refused to shake hands with Chancellor Angela Merkel on camera during his first White House meeting with the German leader.

As recently as August, Trump ordered the withdrawal a portion of US troops from Germany amid reports that he was angered by Merkel’s refusal to participate in the Group of Seven summit in the U.S. during the pandemic.

In other flash points, Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on German cars and demanded Germany spend more on its defence as part of a NATO pledge. He enforced sanctions on the Nordstream 2 pipeline project with Russia and tried to force Merkel to exclude the Chinese network provider Huawei Technologies Co. from the country’s 5G network.

No matter who wins the election, “transatlantic relations will have to improve again,” Maas said.

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by Arne Delfs, Bloomberg

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