Merkel urges Harvard grads to 'tear down walls of ignorance' in apparent swipe at Trump

Merkel urges Harvard grads to 'tear down walls of ignorance' in apparent swipe at Trump
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German chancellor Angela Merkel took an apparent shot at President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE, calling on people to “tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness” while giving a keynote commencement address Thursday at Harvard University.

Merkel condemned many aspects of President Trump’s agenda in the speech, voicing opposition to protectionist policies, trade disputes and the construction of walls, Politico reported. The news outlet added that she never mentioned Trump by name.

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The German chancellor, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard in advance of the speech, opened her remarks by describing her upbringing in East Germany while the Berlin Wall still stood.

“The Berlin Wall limited my opportunities. It quite literally stood in my way,” Merkel said.

Trump earlier this year declared a national emergency to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a move he says will help solve the nation's immigration crisis. 

Merkel touched on a variety of global issues, stressing “multilateralism instead of unilateralism” and warning that climate change poses a “threat” to the earth’s resources.

Politico reported that Merkel at one point implored the graduates to avoid always acting “on our first impulses.”

“Take a moment to stop, be still, think, pause,” she said, adding that it was essential not to “describe lies as truth, and truth as lies." 

The line reportedly drew a standing ovation from students, parents, and alumni. While most of Merkel's speech was given in German, the chancellor wrapped up her remarks in English, according to Politico. 

“I want to leave this wish with you: Tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness, for nothing has to stay as it is," she said. “Take joint action in the interest of the multilateral, global world. Keep asking yourselves: Am I doing something because it is right, or simply because it’s possible? … Letting go of the old is part of the new beginning. And above all, nothing can be taken for granted. Everything is possible.”

Merkel has been German chancellor since 2005 and is serving in what she has said will be her last term. She and Trump have been at odds for much of his presidency.