Friedrich Merz, the millionaire lawyer and financial manager who is hoping to lead the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) after Chancellor Angela Merkel steps down as party leader in December, was in trouble on Thursday after suggesting Germany should reopen the debate on the asylum guarantees in Germany's constitution.
The populist right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) accused Merz of stealing their policies while the Social Democrats (SPD), the CDU's partners in the federal government, called Merz "Trump light," referring to the anti-immigrant stance of US President Donald Trump.
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, a Social Democrat, was also asked about Merz's statement at a press conference on Thursday morning. "I have no interest in commenting on the delusions and confusions of the internal CDU campaign every day," he told DW's Anja Köhler. "Whether the CDU will or should or can overshadow the AfD with such positions they will have to decide for themselves."