News & Politics

Dutch Populist Geert Wilders Praises Trump's Immigration Ban

Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders talks to reporters as he arrives at at Quicken Loans Arena before the start of the second day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Although leaders of the mainstream parties in Europe have condemned Donald Trump’s immigration ban on people from seven Islamic countries, one very prominent Dutch political leader has a completely different opinion. Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders has praised and defended Trump’s executive order, explaining that it’s the only way to protect America — and other Western countries — from terrorists who try to use the refugee crisis to smuggle jihadists into Europe and the United States.

I am very happy, very surprised, with politicians like Donald J. Trump. You know, it’s a kind of refreshment, a fresh air in a room where the windows have been closed for too long.

He continues:

We have in Europe, in Holland, in the rest of the world, we have expecially a lot of politicians who are unable to deal with the mass immigration that we have faced in the last decades. And here there is a politician who does not only keep his promises and fulfills his promises in the election campaign, but who has done more to beat the mass immigration in two weeks time than the whole European governments in their whole existence.

Although Wilders is universally described as “far right” by foreign media, his PVV party is leading by a large margin. According to the latest polls, PVV will get approximately 35 seats in the 150-seats Dutch Parliament after the elections of March 15. The second largest party in the polls is the VVD (which is currently in power) with a mere 22 seats. If that does indeed up being the result, Wilders would likely become the Netherlands’ next prime minister.

In the last few days, Wilders has regularly defended Trump and his policies. The two are like-minded in many ways — they’re populists and on most issues right-of-center, while they simultaneously defend government programs with regards to health care — but there are also significant differences. One of them is that the PVV’s election program goes much further than Trump’s plans. Wilders wants to let zero refugees into the country, his party’s program says, and it also demands a “complete ban on immigration from Muslim countries.” Furthermore, the PVV wants to cancel all temporary residence permits already issued. Lastly, the PVV says it wants to close down all mosques and Islam-based schools in the country and ban the Quran.

The differences with Trump are stark. After all, the president’s travel ban is only temporary and is, the White House ensures us, not aimed at people because they’re Muslim, but because they’re from countries with serious terrorism-related problems. In other words, they’re temporarily banned because there is no system in place to perform an adequate background check. Wilders wants to go much further.