Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered the commencement speech at Harvard University to rousing applause. In the introduction to her address, the “de facto leader of the European Union,” as she was called, was hailed for promoting marriage equality, tackling climate change and opening her country’s doors to refugees.
After she appeared to use her speech to reject President Trump’s worldview, social media and the international press were united in casting Merkel as a liberal hero. But all of that fawning failed to reflect the reality of Merkel’s tenure in Germany.
There can be no doubt that Merkel believes in the basic principles of liberal democracy, supports freedom of press and expression, and understands that truth and facts are the basis of responsible government. Her tenure in power has been remarkably free of scandals, and her decision not to close off Germany’s borders during the so-called refugee crisis was nothing short of a major humanitarian act. All of these qualities make Merkel stand out in the current political climate.