When Donald Trump was elected President of the USA in 2016, Martin Richenhagen wanted to give him a chance and even became a member of one of his advisory bodies. Richenhagen is a manager whose voice counts in America: The 68-year-old has been CEO of the US agricultural machinery manufacturer AGCO, a global corporation with 20,000 employees and $ 9 billion in sales, for 16 years.
Now, a few weeks before the presidential election in the USA, Richenhagen Trump is giving a damning testimony: “Trump is neither educated, nor overly intelligent, and also not well informed,” says the manager in the podcast “Zero Hour” (listen directly here).
The president is “resistant to advice” and has made serious mistakes in economic policy. The trade war with China in particular had consequences. “The sanctions have seriously damaged the economy – especially my customers,” says Richenhagen, referring to the farmers as buyers of the tractors and agricultural machinery that AGCO sells. “The economy likes to be able to plan, we didn’t have that now.”
With a view to the election, Richenhagen can still imagine that Trump will be re-elected. “I’m sure it will be very tight,” he says. In addition, in his view, even an election victory for Democrat Joe Biden would not change many aspects of American politics. “Buy American is the basic mood in the US,” he says. “The idea of worldwide free trade is difficult to get through at the moment.”
Richenhagen also criticizes the German attitude towards the USA: The Americans are open to Germany, which is an advantage especially in the economy. However, his home country has to take on more responsibility internationally: “Our German Foreign Minister is not even taking place.”
Richenhagen, who is giving up his post at the end of the year, is annoyed when German company bosses show reluctance to interfere politically. It is also “the task of business leaders to take part in the dialogue”. In the view of the AGCO boss, a lot went wrong in dealing with Donald Trump. “The German CEOs crawled Trump’s bum in Davos,” he says, remembering the US President’s visit to the World Economic Forum in January 2020. “My principle is: I say what I think and I do what I say . “
Hear in the new episode of “The Zero Hour”
- What Martin Richenhagen thinks of Friedrich Merz and Christian Lindner
- Which US President had the best connection to Angela Merkel?
- How Richenhagen almost became mayor of Cologne
All episodes directly at Audio Now, Apple or Spotify or via Google.