Merkel expresses 'solidarity' with liberal congresswomen attacked by Trump

German Chancellor Angela Merkel right smiles as she arrives for her annual sommer press conference in Berlin Germany Friday

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that US President Donald Trump's racist comments about four Democratic Congresswomen "undermine America's strength" and that she stands in "solidarity" with the women. "I distance myself firmly from this and feel solidarity with the three women who were attacked".

Merkel was asked at her annual summer news conference whether there she still sees a basis of common values with Trump after he said the congresswomen should "go back" to their own countries if they don't like America.

"In my view, the strength of America lies in that people from different [origins] contributed to what makes the country great".

"If you're not happy here, you can leave...."

Questions over racism are particularly sensitive in Germany given its Nazi past, and the government routinely speaks out forcefully in favour of tolerance and diversity.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Europe's largest economy was in a "somewhat more hard phase" after a decade of growth, adding that gave grounds to try to stimulate the domestic economy. Her office has given no explanation for the shaking episodes.

Merkel told reporters that she understands the interest in her health, but reiterated that she is "doing well".

However, German authorities refrained from commenting on the issue, simply stating that the Chancellor has no major health issues.

Merkel announced previous year that she would not seek reelection when her term expires in 2021. That job was won by Merkel ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who has struggled to establish her authority and this week entered Merkel's Cabinet as defense minister - a move widely interpreted as being meant to strengthen her claim to the top job. New Zealand's leader Jacinda Ardern said she "completely and utterly" disagreed with Trump.

Merkel still enjoys solid popularity ratings, but her party's performance in polls has been poor recently and it remains unclear who will be her party's candidate to succeed her as chancellor, a job she has held since 2005.

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