Berlin’s Left-wing Mayor and Interior Secretary have both accused the Trump administration of “piracy” for allegedly “confiscating” 200.000 N95 masks ordered for Berlin police from 3M in China. When called out by the conservative opposition, the entire story turned out to be Fake News.
Berlin’s Interior Secretary Andreas Geisel confirmed his anti-American allegations to Left-wing Tagesspiegel newspaper, which ran with the story without waiting for independent confirmation or checking with US authorities.
“We regard this as an act of international piracy,” Geisel said.
“This is not how you treat your Transatlantic partners,” Geisel added while accusing Trump of employing “Wild West” methods.
Berlin’s Left wing-mayor Michael Müller then chimed in on the anti-American Trump-bashing, claiming “The US President’s actions are far from solidarity and responsibility. They are inhuman and unacceptable.”
Police commissioner Barbara Slowik told the Tagesspiegel they had ordered 400,000 N95 masks from a US manufacturer, 200,000 of which she claimed had been “confiscated” at Bangkok airport. “We have to assume this is a result of US export restrictions.”
City council leader Burkard Dregger (CDU) questioned the allegations, calling them “deliberately misleading”.
“The USA has no power to confiscate protective gear in a foreign country. The Senate is seeking a scapegoat to the pin the blame on for their own failure to stockpile enough protective equipment,” Dregger said.
The outrageous claim then began to fall apart almost immediately.
On Friday evening, manufacturer 3M told press agency dpa, they had “no record of an order for 3M masks from China by the Berlin police,” and “no indication that any 3M products were confiscated.” The White House similarly stated the US had not “confiscated” any PPE destined for abroad.
On Saturday, the Berlin Interior Department had to admit the order had been placed with the 3M affiliate in Germany, of which 200.000 masks had merely been delayed in Bangkok. The reason was unclear. The US government was not involved.
The Berlin Mayor or Interior secretary have yet to apologize. The US embassy protested on Twitter:
This isn’t the first time the German Left has tried to weaponize their hatred for Donald Trump during the Chinese COVID-19 pandemic.
In Mid-March, Angela Merkel’s flagship newspaper WELT accused President Donald Trump of trying to buy up German biotech company CureVac and secure a possible coronavirus serum “exclusively for the USA” – a story that turned out to be wholly fabricated.
US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has been vocal in protesting rampant anti-Americanism in German Media, and erected a statue of Ronald Reagan on the roof of the Berlin embassy when the Left-wing government refused to grant a site in the city. The Left-wing Berlin government also refused landing rights to US Air Force veterans commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Blockade in June 2019, after the 90-year old-vets had flown their vintage aircraft across the Atlantic for the event.