Senior Republican calls out Trump on criticism of Germany

Senior Republican calls out Trump on criticism of Germany
© Greg Nash

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDem lawmaker calls Trump racist in response to 'dog' comment PETA calls out Trump for attacking Omarosa as a 'dog' Hatch 'not comfortable' with Trump calling Omarosa a 'dog' MORE (Utah), the most senior Republican in the Senate, called out President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes MORE on Wednesday for his harsh criticisms of NATO ally Germany.

Hatch called Trump’s comments out of line and overly critical.

“I don’t agree with that,” Hatch said in reaction to Trump’s declaration that Germany is “totally controlled by Russia” because it imports so much natural gas from Russia.

Hatch called Germany of the U.S.'s “strongest allies” and praised Germans as “a very strong people.”

Hatch also praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said she made a very good impression on him during a meeting last week in Berlin.

“I have really the highest opinion of her and those who are with her,” he said. “I think sometimes you can be a little too critical of the other counterparts. I don’t think we should be critical. She’s really good.”

It was strong pushback from one of Trump’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill.

Hatch played a central role, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, in passing Trump’s signature tax-cut bill last year.

On Monday, Hatch vowed to “lift heaven and Earth” to ensure that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is confirmed by the Senate.

But the Utah Republican said he thinks the president went too far in slamming Germany at a breakfast meeting in Brussels ahead of a high-profile NATO summit.

Trump criticized Germany for not meeting its NATO spending target while “paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia” to import oil and gas.

Hatch, however, vouched for Merkel’s leadership.

“I really like her. I think she’s one of the great women leaders of this world and she was very gracious to us,” he said of his time with her in Berlin.