(Bloomberg) -- German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Europe would be better prepared if Donald Trump returned to the White House after the shock of his ascent to the presidency in 2016.
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“Back then, hardly anybody in Europe could have imagined that there would be a US president who questioned NATO,” an alliance that’s “a life insurance” for Europeans, Baerbock said Sunday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “So many things in the past were a total shock to us.”
With Trump leading the race for the Republican Party nomination by a wide margin ahead of next year’s primary season, Baerbock is on an expansive trip to the US that includes sounding out Republicans before attending this week’s United Nations General Assembly. Germany’s Social Democratic chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said he’d prefer a second term for President Joe Biden.
Trump “took some actions which were more than irritating for us,” Baerbock, one of Germany’s most prominent Green politicians, said in the interview in New York.
At the same time, she said “we shouldn’t be naive” and that Germany’s government would be prepared to work with Trump were he to win the 2024 presidential election.
Before New York, Baerbock traveled to Austin and Washington where she met Republicans including Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Read more: Germany Tests Trump Country as Nervous Allies Ponder His Chances
Baerbock said she told Republican lawmakers how shocking the Trump years had been, but expressed confidence that US support for Ukraine would continue regardless of who’s president.
“You need bipartisan support,” Baerbock said. “This is why it was important to me to do also the outreach to the Republicans.”
Baerbock, Germany’s first female foreign minister, is one of the most outspoken advocates of weapons deliveries to Ukraine in Scholz’s cabinet. Before her trip to the US, the former Green party leader visited Kyiv and promised her Ukrainian counterpart a continuation of German military support.
She declined to commit to Taurus long-range missiles deliveries sought by Ukraine, saying that Germany first would have to make sure the missiles “also work in the field.”
“But I totally understand, I am myself a mother of two,” she said. “If I would live in this war zone, every day counts.”
On Friday, Baerbock and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the determination of their governments to support Ukraine as long as needed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to make the world “become used to this” won’t succeed, she said after a meeting in Washington. Blinken thanked Germany for its “leading role” in supporting Ukraine.
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