German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's spokeswoman is defending remarks he made about U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying it would be frightening if the Republican nominee were to be elected.

Steinmeier last week called Trump one of the world's "hate preachers" who practice politics through fear.

Asked Wednesday at a regular press conference about the remarks, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokeswoman refused to comment, saying it's the German leader's policy not to get involved in other countries' election campaigns.

Steinmeier's spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli said, however, that the foreign minister was "perfectly entitled" to voice his opinion.

Chebli says Steinmeier's "not neutral on this."

"He's of the opinion that if one follows Trump's statements, then one must be really frightened about what might come of the world" if Trump becomes president, she said.