Three weeks after the flood, people in the flood areas are still suffering. And they are disappointed – especially by Armin Laschet. After the boos on Monday, he wanted to set an example today with a joint visit with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. But two crucial things went wrong.
Around three weeks after the flood disaster in West Germany, many residents are still standing in front of the ruins of their livelihoods. But media coverage is now falling, and visits to politicians are decreasing. And the local people? They are increasingly angry. Because in many affected areas still no or insufficient emergency aid arrives. And because in their eyes one thing in particular made mistakes: Armin Laschet.
Review: Even on his first visit, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia did not cut a good figure. During a memorial address given by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Laschet laughed and fooled around. In the perception of many citizens – not only in the flood zone – the CDU candidate for chancellor became a “non-crisis manager”. The receipt followed in the polls: minus percent for the Union Flood: Laschet is there – but doesn’t know how to react The next visit to the Swisttal near Bonn followed on Monday – in the hope that things could go better this time. But the chancellor candidate met with anger and disappointment. “You will notice it in the election,” shouted a man in his direction, indicating to the CDU candidate for chancellor that his crisis management would cost him votes in the federal election in September. Others also became loud, scolded or showed themselves frustrated.
And Laschet? He seemed as if he didn’t really know how to deal with the attacks. He assured us several times that he would take care of support and promised immediate immediate aid. But nothing more.
On Tuesday morning, the CDU chief was once again on site in the flood area. Together with the SPD candidate for Chancellor and Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, he wanted to get an idea of the situation again and, among other things, talk to ailing entrepreneurs about financial aid. For Laschet, after two unsuccessful performances in the flood area, a lot was at stake this time.
Also read: Sharpened – a column by Ulrich Reitz – Bosbach versus Lauterbach: From the indignation the left Maaßen lives excellently Laschet and Scholz in the flood area: The CDU candidate for chancellor makes two mistakes again So how did it go? In short: again sub-optimal. Laschet seemed much more concentrated – he was serious, even affected. However, he made two mistakes again when he visited the flood.
First: He gave Scholz the symbolic precedence in crisis management. If Laschet had invited the finance minister straight away, as his CSU colleague Markus Söder did, it would have had a different character. But to try it solo first and then get the finance minister as a kind of supporter after people complain that not enough is getting there – that looks as if Laschet couldn’t do it alone.
And then Laschet made a second mistake: Again he was unable to make the desperate and angry local people feel that a real carer has come, one who feels the pain and loss of people and acts accordingly.
Where is the father of the country? Merkel and Dreyer are worlds better as carers You inevitably think of the appearance of Angela Merkel and Malu Dreyer, the hand walked in hand and visibly shaken through the completely ruined villages. Citizens were moved by this image. It had symbolic power and gave consolation to those who suffered.
It is clear that Olaf Scholz does not hook up with Armin Laschet and they walk through the flood areas together – especially since the scenes in Rhineland-Palatinate came about due to illness. And the fact that Scholz is already having a hard time showing emotions certainly contributed to the fact that the visit by the two politicians was not particularly emphatic. However, Laschet would have done well to approach the people again. To face them. Maybe even to apologize. Not for laughing or for not having emergency aid. But for the fact that he has not yet lived up to his role as the father of the country and thus also that of the caretaker.