Wednesday, 17 April 2024
WorldTrump says he would encourage Putin to attack low-paying NATO allies, setting...

Trump says he would encourage Putin to attack low-paying NATO allies, setting off alarm bells in Europe

The former president of the United States and Republican candidate, Donald Trump, said this weekend at a campaign event that he would “encourage” Russia to attack any of the United States’ allies in NATO that it considers have not fulfilled their obligations. financial obligations.

The White House has responded by condemning the former president’s comments in a statement: “Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and deranged, and endangers American national security, global stability, and our domestic economy.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also lashed out at Trump’s comments. “NATO remains prepared and able to defend all allies,” the Norwegian said in a statement: “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the United States, and puts greater risk to American and European soldiers. I hope that, regardless of who wins the presidential election, the US will continue to be a strong and committed NATO ally.”

On the other hand, former Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie said he thought it was “right for a president to say to a NATO member, ‘Hey, you have to pay the dues you have to pay.’”

“But the problem with Donald Trump is that he can’t stay there,” Christie said Sunday on the show Meet the Press from NBC. “You have to say, ‘I would encourage Russia to do whatever the hell it wants with you.’ “That is absolutely inappropriate for a president of the United States or a candidate for the presidency of the United States to say.”

Christie argued that Trump’s comments about Russia were consistent with his “love” for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and other dictators.

One Republican who spoke in support of Trump was Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio sought to downplay the significance of Trump’s remarks, made two days after former Fox News host and Trump ally Tucker Carlson conducted a lengthy, friendly interview with Putin.

“Trump was talking about a story that happened in the past, when he was president,” Rubio told CNN. “He didn’t take us out of NATO, and American troops were deployed all over Europe then as they are today.”

“Donald Trump is telling a story,” Rubio continued. “He is not a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He doesn’t talk like a traditional politician, and you’d think people would have realized that by now. He said that NATO was bankrupt or bankrupt until he took over because people weren’t paying their dues, and he used influence to get them to get their act together.”

However, one conservative who stood out for expressing her criticism of Trump was political commentator Alyssa Farah Griffin, who said that Trump’s comments must have been “music” to Putin’s ears.

Trump has expressed doubts about helping Ukraine defend itself from the invasion launched by Russia in February 2022, as well as the existence of NATO, the international alliance that the United States has pledged to defend when necessary.

His comments Saturday came as U.S. senators debated a bill to provide $60 billion to Ukraine, $14 billion in security aid to Israel, $9 billion for humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Ukraine, and $4.8 billion to support allies in the Indo-Pacific.

But the bill faces opposition from some Republicans who want to see the foreign aid package accompanied by provisions to secure the US-Mexico border, quickly becoming one of the defining issues of the 2024 presidential election.

Some of those same lawmakers now hope to include their own amendments to stem the flow of migrants into the United States, while others want to waive humanitarian aid provisions and restrict foreign aid to weapons and materials.

If the Senate approves it, it will go to the House of Representatives, where Republicans have a slim majority. Congress has already rejected a stand-alone aid bill for Israel. House Speaker Mike Johnson has signaled that he could split the aid into separate bills. “I have made it very clear that these issues must be addressed separately,” Johnson declared last week.

Even before Trump’s comments on NATO, European capitals were adjusting their expectations for US support and cooperation in the event of a second Trump presidency.

During a 70-minute speech in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Trump recalled telling an unnamed European head of state at an unclassified NATO meeting when he was president that the United States would not defend any country that was “rogue.”

Although some immediately questioned whether the alleged conversation had occurred, Trump continued: “One of the presidents of a great country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay up and Russia attacks us, will you protect us?'”

“I told him: ‘Haven’t you paid, defaulters?’ No, I wouldn’t protect them. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever they want. You have to pay. You have to pay your bills.”

NATO countries agreed in 2014, after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, to halt post-Cold War spending cuts and move toward spending 2% of their GDP on defense by 2024.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump alarmed Western allies by warning that the United States, under his leadership, could abandon its commitments to NATO treaties and only come to the defense of countries that met the 2% target. alliance.

In 2022, NATO reported that seven of NATO’s now 31 member countries were in compliance, up from three in 2014. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has spurred additional military spending by some NATO members. .

Trump’s comments come as Ukraine remains stalled in its efforts to prevent the 2022 Russian invasion and as congressional Republicans grow increasingly skeptical about providing additional aid to the country, which is struggling with a stalemate in counteroffensives. and the shortage of weapons.

On Saturday, Trump also celebrated the recent failure of congressional legislation aimed at addressing the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. The law had the support of Democrat Joe Biden, and Trump promised that if he were re-elected, he would carry out “a massive deportation operation” on his first day in the Oval Office.

Trump has performed well in public opinion polls against Biden, who defeated the former president in the 2020 election. However, he faces more than 90 criminal charges.

The charges contained in four separate indictments in multiple jurisdictions allege that he tried to subvert the outcome of the election he lost, illegally withheld government secrets after his presidency and made illicit hush money payments to a porn actor who claims to have had a sexual encounter. with Trump.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Popular content

Latest article

More article