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Donald Trump Looms Large — Even Among Observers Looking On From Germany

Donald Trump Looms Large — Even Among Observers Looking On From Germany
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In Germany, the American presidential primaries are generating more interest than usual — especially in Trump, a candidate who has German roots, and whose rise has many Germans feeling alarmed.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've been spending some time this morning listening to people who are following the U.S. presidential election from afar, from other countries. And let's go now to Germany, where there is more interest than usual, especially in one leading candidate with German roots. Here's NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: The presidential candidate Germans want to talk about is Donald Trump, and even more so since his big win on Super Tuesday. Sebastian Gierke, who is a columnist for the daily Suddeutsche Zeitung in Bavaria, one of Germany's most conservative states, writes - Donald Trump in the sauna with Vladimir Putin, with his hand on the button for U.S. nukes? From now on, anything is possible. Like Gierke, few Germans appear to relish the prospect of a Trump presidency. Many, like Filippos Haeusler, fear it could damage decades of strong ties between Germany and the United States.

FILIPPOS HAEUSLER: (Speaking German).

NELSON: The 65-year-old engineer, who originally came from Greece, says he’s surprised Americans would be drawn to the candidate’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. He says that he hopes Hillary Clinton will become the next U.S. president.

HAEUSLER: (Speaking German).

NELSON: Hausler says, "she knows Germany and has experience in foreign policy. She's pragmatic. That would be good for Germany and Europe." Even Frauke Petry of Germany's populist Alternative for Germany party, which shares Trump's goal of ending illegal immigration, sought to distance herself from the Republican candidate.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

FRAUKE PETRY: (Speaking German).

NELSON: Petry told reporters his arguments are too simplistic. She says it's been hard enough to get Germans to understand the nuances of illegal immigration. And we don't need Mr. Trump on top of that. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin.

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