“My aspiration in politics is to always to try to bring everyone together, to make peace with one another,” she said.
Floyd, a black man, died under the knee of a white police officer last week, prompting a wave of protests across the United States that has spread to Europe, including Germany. Trump’s response to the demonstrations and unrest at home, including a tweet that seemed to urge the shooting of looters amid the protests, have further fueled anger at home.
When asked whether the U.S. president was indeed bringing people together, Merkel said: “What I discuss with the president, I don’t discuss in public, but what I do say is that this country is very polarized and I hope that people can come together.”
And when further pressed on Trump’s role in such polarization, she said: “I believe that the political style is already controversial, that is clear, but I don’t want to make a one-to-one thing here. Racism has always been around, also for us.”
The German leader, who hasn’t been shy about taking apparent digs at Trump in the past, also declined to say whether she still had confidence in the American leader, responding: “I work with the world’s elected presidents, and of course with the American one too. And I hope that the country can be pacified.”
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also spoke out this week on the death of Floyd, calling it “appalling” and saying he understood protesters’ anger, but declined to be drawn on whether he had raised his concerns with Trump.