This is apparently the third time President Trump has falsely stated that his father was born in Germany
Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that his late father was born in Germany, despite the fact that the man — real estate developer Frederick Christ Trump — was actually born in the Bronx.
The president, 72, was speaking to the press during a briefing with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg when he made the false declaration. At the time, Trump was venting his frustrations about Germany’s financial contributions to NATO.
“Germany, honestly, is not paying their fair share,” he said at the White House, quickly noting that he has “great respect” for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and “great respect for the country.”
“My father is German, was German,” Mr. Trump said. “And born in a very wonderful place in Germany, so I have a great feeling for Germany.”
Video of his mix-up quickly went viral, thanks to a tweet from White House press veteran Tommy Christopher.
It could be that President Trump was thinking about his grandfather, Friedrich Trump. According to The Washington Post, Friedrich was born in the German town of Kallstadt and emigrated to the U.S. in 1885. Though he landed in New York City, he settled in Seattle, Washington — buying a restaurant in November 1891 and becoming a citizen in October of the following year.
Years later, Friedrich would attempt to return to Germany to resettle, the Associated Press reported back in 2016. But he was expelled in 1905 for emigrating illegally and returned back to the United States.
According to the Post, he returned with his pregnant wife Elisabeth Trump to the U.S. where she soon gave birth to Trump’s father.
This is apparently the third time President Trump has falsely stated that his father was born in Germany.
He first made the claim in July at a NATO summit in Brussels. “I have great respect for Germany; my father is from Germany,” Trump said, according to The Post. “Both of my parents are from the E.U., despite the fact they don’t treat us well on trade.”
Later that month, Trump again made the same mistake while speaking to the press about the European Union, which he called an enemy of the United States.
“Maybe the thing that is most difficult — don’t forget both my parents were born in E.U. sectors, okay?” Trump said, The Post reported. “I mean, my mother was Scotland, my father was Germany. And — you know I love those countries.”
(Trump’s mom — Mary Anne MacLeod Trump — was a Scottish immigrant).
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Meanwhile, Trump’s criticisms of Germany’s NATO contributions is nothing new.
He’s long critiqued NATO members’ defense spending, slamming America’s allies for not dedicating the required 2 percent of their economic output to defense. Germany has especially fallen short, and hasn’t put together a clear plan to reach NATO’s alliance benchmark, Trump said on Tuesday.
“They are paying close to 1 percent,” he claimed. “It is very unfair.”
Overall, the alliance has seen an overall increase in defense expenditures, Trump boasted. “People are paying and I am very happy with the fact they are paying.”
As Trump said, much of that is thanks to Stoltenberg, who recently had his tenure extended by two years. “He’s done an excellent job, and when it came time to renew, because a lot of people wanted that job, it’s a great job, it really is, but a lot of people wanted it but I had no doubt in my mind who I wanted,” Trump said.