D-Day is example of America's 'strong relationship with German government', Trump State Department spokeswoman says

'You have six months to educate Heather Nauert on the history and significance of Pearl Harbor before she cites it as an example of strong US-Japan relations'

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 07 June 2018 13:28 BST
State Department spokeswoman notes D-Day in answer on 'strong relationship' with Germany

A State Department spokeswoman has been ridiculed for citing the D-Day invasion as an example of America’s “very strong relationship” with Germany.

“We have a very strong relationship with the government of Germany,” Heather Nauert said.

“Looking back in the history books, today is the 71st anniversary of the speech that announced the Marshall Plan. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the D-Day invasion. We obviously have a very long history with the government of Germany, and we have a strong relationship with the government of Germany.”

During the D-Day invasion on 6 June, 1944, around 156,000 British, American, Canadian and other Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to establish a foothold in Nazi-occupied France.

Ms Nauert’s comments were mocked online and dissected by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who pointed out the State Department spokeswoman had been hired directly from Fox News.

One Twitter user said: “Dear @StateDept: You have six months to educate Heather Nauert on the history and significance of Pearl Harbor before she cites it as an example of strong US-Japan relations. Get to it – you may need some time to catch her up.”

Another asked: “How is she qualified to work in the state dept?”

Malcolm Nance, a retired US intelligence officer, said Ms Nauert was “disgracefully ignorant of the ‘relationship’ with Hitler’s Nazi Germany at Normandy 74 years ago today. Quit now. Its 7th grade history.”

The State Department spokeswoman was defending remarks made by the new US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, which drew condemnation from across Germany’s political spectrum.

Mr Grenell, a former US spokesman at the United Nations and a strong supporter of Donald Trump, told the far-right Breitbart News he “absolutely wants to empower” European conservatives who are “experiencing an awakening from the silent majority”.

He was referring to recent elections which have launched conservative parties in Germany, Italy, Hungary and Austria, which he said showed “a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left. There’s no question about that, and it’s an exciting time for me”.

Mr Grenell’s comments drew criticism from German politicians, including warnings against interfering in domestic politics.

When she was asked whether it is State Department policy for US ambassadors to advocate for particular political parties, Ms Nauert responded: ”Ambassadors have a right to express their opinion. They’re representatives of the White House, whether it’s this administration or other administrations.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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