It has become somewhat routine for onlookers to scrutinize and criticize Angela Merkel. During her now almost fifteen-year reign as Germany’s chancellor, she has provided adequate material for her naysayers. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, however, her experience and rationality have been tremendously appreciated, even beyond Germany’s borders.
Merkel Is Showing America What Real Leadership Is
In the United States, Merkel’s crisis management is increasingly considered superior to President Trump’s, for sound reasons. Merkel has long been a favorite for left-liberal Americans, who see her as the face of noble European solidarity, humanity, and reason. These are attributes the left has been missing since Barack Obama ceased to be president in 2017.
One can hardly find any critique on Merkel in the US media these days. Instead, Germany, and by default Angela Merkel, has been showered with adoration. Once Time Magazine’s person of the year – though for debatable reasons – the New York Times recently articulated even more elevated hopes for her. Merkel, an opinion piece argued, ought to become Vice President under Joe Biden. While virtually impossible and meant humorously, it nonetheless reflects the positive opinions of Merkel among US centrists and liberals.
Merkel: a Role Model for Crisis Management
Meanwhile, CNN recently declared Merkel to be a role model in crisis management. President Trump ought to learn from Merkel how to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, the network argued. This is a fair point. Germany, as well as the United States, are governed via a federal system. However, Merkel, unlike Trump, has displayed reluctance in relinquishing any responsibility to the states. Germany’s Minister-Presidents thus do not feel abandoned in their fight against the crisis.
It is the primary reason why mutual blame between Merkel and the German states is non-existent. Meanwhile, in the US, blue states have continuously collided with the Trump administration over aid and even executive powers.
Moreover, there are also worlds between Merkel and Trump when it comes to communicating with the public. Trump utilizes his daily briefings for multi-thematic campaign rallies. Instead of preaching compassion and cohesion, the president shines through half-truths, attacks on political opponents and reporters, and through surreal absurdities, such as his stellar idea of injecting disinfectant. Naturally, his crisis management remained flawless, as he asserts every day, while terrifying mortality rates are ignored or unfairly downplayed.
Merkel is the Opposite of Trump
It is a conduct one would never witness from Merkel. The chancellor, known for her calm, almost apathetic nature, does not believe in self-adulation and utilizes her appearances to communicate facts and, with virtual certainty, without any attention towards her ratings. Germany has commenced its second honeymoon with Merkel after many had turned from her in recent years. Accordingly, her party’s polls have increased considerably, and Merkel has become Angela again, Germany’s “Mutti.”
It is precisely what the United States is currently lacking. A feeling of being in safe hands that allows them to united behind the government’s decisions. Merkel has not only proven Germany’s leading status in Europe but has turned the state into a role model for the rest of the western world: a status that has been reserved for the United States since its founding.
Merkel Has Earned Germany’s Trust
Forgotten are her various weaknesses, such as her unwillingness to explain her policies, her reluctance to face discourses, and her disastrous immigration policies, which are partially responsible for the rise of populism in Europe. What is currently essential is the ability to manage a crisis, leadership. Germans and Americans alike appreciate it. Even more so as President Trump’s lack of leadership has been amplifying Merkel’s excellent work.
According to a recent survey commissioned by the Associated Press, only 23 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an unusual trend as the popularity of heads of governments typically increase in crises. Trump’s approval ratings remain reasonably stable at 40 to 44 percent meanwhile, but subpar compared to his international colleagues, notably Angela Merkel’s, who ascended to 70 percent.
The more erratic Donald Trump acts in this crisis, the greater America’s desire for a rational head of government will become. For once, however, we have no intention of letting her go.