By Claire Zillman
December 14, 2016

When Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in a shocking upset in the U.S. presidential election last month, the Western world’s collective head swiveled to Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel was unceremoniously anointed “leader of the Free World.”

But Time‘s Simon Shuster reports that Merkel is used to being underestimated and is decidedly uncomfortable with this new pressure-packed position. One critique is that she is unqualified to serve as the last defender of the liberal establishment because she can’t even keep her own country in check. Her welcoming policy toward Muslim immigrants has unsettled her support base, and there’s a question of whether she’ll even stay in power past next year.

Yet, far from seeing Trump’s victory as a demoralizing event, it seems to have galvanized Merkel. Had Clinton won, she may have stepped aside. Instead, the long-serving German leader announced her bid for reelection 11 days after Trump’s victory.

Merkel may not be the ideal caretaker of the liberal order, but so far she’s at least proven she’s willing to try.



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