Some European officials suggest German media may have been exaggerating in their translations.President Donald Trump has refocused his trade threats on German automakers ahead of the G7 summit.
"The Germans are bad, very bad," Trump said in a meeting with EU officials, as quoted by Der Spiegel. "Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US, and we'll stop that."
White House economic advisor Gary Cohn later attempted to douse the controversy, telling reporters that Trump "doesn't have a problem with Germany," while Trump spokesman Sean Spicer clarified that the President was only referring to unfair trade practices, according to Reuters.
The controversy was apparently fueled by Spiegel's translation of 'bad' into the German word 'böse,' which can be translated back to English as 'evil.'
In any case, the statement echoes Trump's previous statements suggesting everyone on Fifth Avenue has a "Mercedes-Benz parked in front of his house" but "how many Chevrolets do you see in Germany?" He has promised to place a 35-percent tariff on automobiles imported to the US, whether from Germany, Mexico or any other foreign origin.
German automakers earlier this year fired back over the threats, pointing out that BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen Group already operate factories in the US. BMW's South Carolina facility is the company's biggest global assembly plant and the largest single auto exporter in the country.