Geert Wilders hopes Trump will become next US president
Dutch right-wing politician backs controversial Republican candidate on Twitter
Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders, who said it would be good for Europe and America if Donald Trump became the next US president. Photograph: Michael Kooren/Reuters
Mr Wilders backed the controversial Republican candidate in a post to his Twitter account, @geertwilderspvv, late on Monday evening – around the same time Mr Trump issued his controversial statement suggesting that Muslims should be banned from entering the US.
In the tweet, which included an image of the Stars and Stripes, Mr Wilders – who is to face trial next year for allegedly “inciting discrimination and hatred” against Moroccans living in the Netherlands – added: “We need brave leaders.”
Mr Trump and Mr Wilders now have in common that each of them has called for the closure of his country’s borders to Muslims – claiming that to do otherwise would be to leave them vulnerable to attack by Islamist extremists.
Responding in September to a plan by European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker to distribute refugees from Iraq and Syria among EU states, Mr Wilders described the migrant influx as “an Islamic invasion” that threatened Europe’s “prosperity, security, and identity”.
Earlier on Monday, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte responded to a video posted on YouTube in which Mr Wilders addressed Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and told him Turkey should “forget about” joining the EU.
Anti-Turkey stanceIn the message, delivered in Dutch and English with Turkish subtitles, Mr Wilders declared: “Just forget it. You’re not Europeans and will never be. An Islamic state like Turkey doesn’t belong in Europe. ”
Mr Wilders described Mr Erdogan as “a dangerous Islamist who is raising the Islamic flag”.
Mr Rutte called the video “completely inappropriate” and “an insult to the Turkish people” – though he acknowledged Mr Wilders’s entitlement to express his views.
Largely as a result of opposition to the 9,000-plus refugees allocated to the Netherlands under the Juncker scheme, opinion polls are putting Mr Wilders’s Freedom Party ahead of Mr Rutte’s Liberals – giving them 26 per cent of the vote. This would make the Freedom Party the largest in the Netherlands if an election were held, with 39 out of 150 seats in parliament – putting Mr Wilders in a strong position to form a coalition government. The stand-off over refugees has become so tense a social evening in the town of Nijmegen, where local people were to cook with asylum seekers, had to be cancelled because of “dozens of threats” to the nursing home where it was due to be held.
Marjolein Faber, leader of the Freedom Party in the Senate, commented: “Most of those cooking would be men with other values who would be able to walk through the nursing home where female staff members are often alone at night.”