U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump has hit out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying it was a ‘tragic mistake’ for her to let thousands of migrants into her country.
The Republican contender also predicted that her actions and the refugee crisis could trigger revolutions and even mean the end of Europe.
More than one million people arrived in Europe last year, fleeing war and failing states in the Middle East and North Africa.
Numbers show little sign of falling, despite the winter, with many aiming to reach countries such as Germany after Merkel said there was an open door policy.
Trump’s comments came in a interview with French conservative weekly magazine Valuers Actuelles, which said it was the billionaire’s first in-depth campaign interview with the European media.
It was released on the same day that he stormed to victory in the the New Hampshire Republican primary elections last night.
He told the publication: ‘I think Angela Merkel made a tragic mistake with the migrants.
‘If you don’t treat the situation competently and firmly, yes, it’s the end of Europe. You could face real revolutions.’
The 69-year-old was also asked about the recent Paris terror attacks and the threat of terrorism in Europe.
And he said that he believed Brussels in Belgium had become a breeding ground for terrorists and some neighbourhoods in Paris and elsewhere in France had become no-go zones.
He added: ‘Unfortunately, France is not what it used to be, and neither is Paris.’
He also said tight French gun laws were partly responsible for the killing of dozens of people at the Bataclan concert hall last November by Islamist militants.
He added: ‘I always have a gun with me. Had I been at the Bataclan, I can tell you I would have opened fire.’
However, in the article he did praise Russian president Vladimir Putin who he described as smart.
He added that he thought the United States could have very good relations with Putin and that nothing could be worse than the current situation where President Barack Obama scarcely speaks to him.
He explained: ‘He (Putin) said I was brilliant. That proves a certain smartness.’
The French magazine said the interview was conducted at Trump’s office in New York’s Trump Tower a week before the Iowa caucuses, in which he finished second among candidates seeking the Republican nomination for November’s presidential election.
However last night, Trump claimed victory in the New Hampshire Republican primary elections, predicting before a raucous crowd in Manchester that he’ll also win the next presidential nominating contest in South Carolina.
With 92 per cent of the votes counted, Trump led the field with 35.17 per cent of the total vote and 10 delegates, John Kasich was in second with 15.84 per cent and three delegates, Ted Cruz third with 11.66 per cent and two delegates, Jeb Bush fourth with 11.07 per cent and two delegates, Marco Rubio fifth with 10.52 per cent and Chris Christie sixth with 7.47 per cent.
And immigration issues facing America were not far from Trump’s mind when he gave his victory speech.
He said: ‘In a nutshell, we’re going to make great trade deals, we’re going to rebuild our military … we are going to take care of our vets.
‘We’re going to have strong, incredible borders and people are going to come into our country but they’re going to come into our country legally!’
‘We’re going to build a wall. It’s going to be built,’ Shouts of ‘Build the wall! Build the wall!’ followed.
So did his well-worn pledge to ‘knock the hell out of ISIS,’ the Islamist terror army whose videotaped beheadings of ‘infidels’ have forced politicians to take hard-line approaches to the Middle East.