The mayor of the German town of Donald Trump’s ancestry announced before his surprise election in 2016 that if he did something “great” for the United States or the world as president, he would place a plaque in his honor. Four years later, there still isn’t.
Kallstadt is the small wine town in southwestern Germany where Trump’s paternal grandparents grew up separated by a street in humble houses that still stand.
As the world awaits the outcome of another decisive election in the United States on November 3, residents are growing weary of the Trump name in this social community.
“It was just an illusion,” Mayor Thomas Jaworek, 52, tells AFP when asked about the plaque idea.
“Our two countries used to be friends and our personal friends remain.”
“But when you see (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel and Donald Trump sit together, you get the impression that now there is a world between us,” he says, referring to the icy relations between the two leaders.
With a population of 1,200, there are no longer any Trumps left in Kallstadt, but a distant relative by marriage in the nearby town of Freinsheim seems to have the familiar knack for self-talk.
Ursula Trump, who at 73 is a year younger than the president, says that after his election he began selling cakes with the American flag and small Trump emblems made with sugar in the bakery that bears his name.
“People came from all over the place, just for Trump’s cakes. It was crazy,” he says with a wide smile. “Even the Russians were coming!”
That was until a group of locals began boycotting his store.
“They said ‘why was he advertising that madman?’. I replied: ‘I’m not advertising him, I have his name, why can’t I use it?’
– “The same face” –
Ursula came from a nearby town and married Harald Trump, whose connection to the American president dates back to a common ancestor four generations ago.
She says she can see a certain family resemblance, especially when her husband gets angry.
“He makes the same face as Donald,” he says, frowning trying to imitate him. “My son does too.”
He says his family feels a certain pride when they associate his last name with that of Trump, which is pronounced “Droomb” in the regional Palatinate dialect.
However, when it comes to politics, Ursula says she “doesn’t know much” but is concerned about Trump’s “contempt for women.”
He believes that the transatlantic alliance, promoted in the region by the decades-long presence of thousands of soldiers on US bases such as Ramstein, Kaiserslautern and Spangdahlem, has deteriorated during his presidency.
Ursula does not like Trump’s plan to reduce the number of US soldiers stationed in Germany by 9,500 to 25,000.
“The American-German friendship was built for many years because the Americans were here. I think this decision could break it,” he warns.
Although a few dozen Trump’s remain in the area, most are fed up with the press.
However, Sven Trump, 38, who says he is a distant cousin of the US president, tried to draw attention to the “green” campaign last year in view of the UN climate conference in Madrid. .
Wearing a red cap with the slogan “Keep the world great”, he was filmed last year posing in front of Trump’s grandfather’s house saying: “Donald, climate change exists and its consequences affect the US and you too!”
Through his Twitter and Instagram accounts @realsventrump, he tried to provoke Trump to join the 2015 Paris Agreement, which advocates the reduction of CO2 emissions, and do his bit by reducing junk food and Golf.
– ‘German blood’ –
Joerg Leineweber has a hotel right next to Trump’s grandfather’s house, a modest white house.
“There are people who take selfies in front of her but there were a lot more three years ago,” says Leineweber, 53.
The imminent departure of American soldiers is just one symbol of the end of the era of postwar relations with the United States, he argues.
“There is no longer the trust that there used to be.”
Trump has never visited Kallstadt and has only made two brief stops in Germany as president.
Asked last year about a possible visit, he promised that he would accept Merkel’s invitation with a reference to his family roots.
“I have German blood, I’ll go,” he said. But he still hasn’t returned.
Thomas Jaworek, the mayor, belongs to Merkel’s center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union. He says he has been surprised that Trump clashed so harshly with Germany over trade and defense spending.
“At the same time, it seeks to reach out to those who were never friends of the United States like North Korea,” he recalls.
Jaworek seems relieved that he hasn’t had to arrange an eventual presidential visit – until now.
“Maybe it will all end in early November,” he hopes.
dlc / hmn / af / mar