What is behind Wolfgang Kubicki’s aversion to Karl Lauterbach

Lauterbach (left) and Kubicki in December 2021

The attacks on Lauterbach ensure Kubicki’s attention. Party friends doubt that there is a larger plan behind it.

(Photo: imago images/Political Moments)

Berlin Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is one of Wolfgang Kubicki’s (FDP) favorite victims. There is no other coalition partner that the Vice President of the German Bundestag likes to dish out. Now Kubicki publicly doubted whether Lauterbach can continue as a minister for a long time.

“To be honest, I don’t assume that Karl Lauterbach will remain in office as Minister of Health for the entire legislative period,” said the deputy FDP chairman of the “Stuttgarter Zeitung”. “The SPD itself is completely annoyed by Lauterbach.”

Above all, Kubicki is annoyed by Lauterbach and its strict course in the corona pandemic. Like other liberals, he has no understanding of the constant alarmism of the Minister of Health, who boasts that he is enforcing the strictest corona rules in Europe in Germany. Many liberals see the fact that Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) succeeded in relaxing the Infection Protection Act in the spring as one of their party’s greatest successes in the traffic light.

While Buschmann negotiated with Lauterbach in a polite and sober manner, Kubicki shared communicatively. At the state party conference of the FDP in Hamburg in September, Kubicki railed against Lauterbach and his private life: “Does not eat salt, eat sugar, drink alcohol, has no girlfriend. What does he get out of life then?”

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Lauterbach once said in an interview that he drinks a glass of wine every day. However, that should not be an order of magnitude that impresses a Kubicki. While the FDP politician is considered to be party-loving, Lauterbach boasts that he reads medical studies at night. Kubicki and Lauterbach have little in common. The only thing they share is the need to appear often in the media.

>> Also read: FDP Federal Vice Kubicki attacks Economics Minister Habeck – “We have to be careful like a gun dog”

Even before the start of the traffic light government, Kubicki said that the people at the regulars’ table in his pub would “not react positively” to Lauterbach. “In the North, people would say ‘Spack’ or ‘Dumpback’.” That earned Kubicki a lot of criticism. Lauterbach also reacted, speaking of an “unworthy admission” for a Bundestag Vice President. “I also know what is being said about Mr. Kubicki. But I still get a media presence without insulting my colleagues,” said Lauterbach.

Trenches in Corona politics

Lauterbach is actually reluctant to attack Kubicki, but cannot resist making one or two comments. The ZDF satirical magazine “heute show” once interviewed Lauterbach about his plans to legalize the drug cannabis and asked what Kubicki smoked. He didn’t know that, replied the Minister of Health – but it “must definitely be very strong”.

When the 70-year-old FDP politician goes over the rails again, his party says “a typical Kubicki”. The party leaders are increasingly annoyed, for example when Kubicki publicly criticizes the traffic light coalition.

In any case, the attacks on Lauterbach ensure Kubicki’s attention. Party friends doubt that there is a larger plan behind it, such as an early warm-up for a re-election as deputy party leader. As a free spirit, Kubicki is simply very disappointed with the corona policy, says one, “and he articulates that in his own way”.

>> Also read: Lauterbach wrestles with the EU Commission about cannabis legalization: “We need very good arguments”

The FDP politician is not the only one who expresses his displeasure so clearly. It was only on Monday that the Bavarian Minister of Health, Klaus Holetschek, accused Lauterbach of having a “basta mentality” in the debate about the obligation to wear masks in long-distance transport. The CSU politician demanded that he should move away from this – and thus set the tone for the conference of health ministers on Monday afternoon.

On the agenda is not only a possible end to the mask requirement in local and long-distance public transport, which Lauterbach is blocking because of concerns about the increasing number of infections in winter. The isolation requirement for corona positives is also up for debate.

The federal states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate have now lifted the rule, and Kubicki’s FDP is also demanding it. Lauterbach, on the other hand, is critical of hasty decisions on further corona easing.

The rifts in the debate about general vaccination requirements, which did not materialize in April because of an application by Kubicki, were particularly clear. The milder omicron variant forces a rethink, argued the FDP politician in the debate in the Bundestag. Lauterbach confronted him and said, “You shouldn’t pretend that you know that’s not the case in the fall.” It didn’t help.

More: 300 million euros more for children’s hospitals – Lauterbach’s “small hospital reform” passes the Bundestag

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