Trump says he’ll encourage Putin to attack low-paying NATO allies, raising alarm bells in Europe

Former US President and Republican candidate Donald Trump said at a campaign event this weekend that he would “encourage” Russia to attack any US NATO ally it deems has failed to meet its commitments. Financial obligations. .

The White House responded by condemning the former president’s comments in a statement: “The encouragement of murderous regimes to invade our closest allies is appalling and appalling and threatens America’s national security, global stability and our domestic economy.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also criticized Trump’s comments. “NATO remains ready and able to defend all allies,” the Norwegian said in a statement. soldiers. I hope that regardless of who wins the presidential election, the US will continue to be a strong and loyal NATO ally.

On the other hand, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, said that he thought it was “right for the president to say to a NATO member, ‘Look, you’ve got to pay the tax you’ve got to pay.’

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

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

One Republican who spoke out in support of Trump was U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio tried to downplay Trump’s remarks, which came two days after former Fox News anchor and Trump ally Tucker Carlson had a long, 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 pull us out of NATO and American troops were stationed all over Europe 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 figured that out by now. He said NATO was bankrupt or broke before he took over because the people didn’t pay their taxes and he used his influence to get them to do their thing.

However, one conservative who stood out in his criticism of Trump was political commentator Alice Farah Griffin, who said Trump’s comments must have been “music” to Putin’s ears.

Trump has expressed doubts about helping Ukraine defend itself against an invasion by Russia in February 2022, as well as the presence of NATO, an international alliance the United States has pledged to defend if needed.

His comments on Saturday came as US senators debated a bill providing $60 billion in security aid to Ukraine, $14 billion in security aid to Israel, $9 billion in humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Ukraine, and $4.8 billion to support allies in India. . -Pacific Ocean.

But the bill is opposed by some Republicans who want to see the foreign aid package accompanied by provisions to secure the US-Mexico border, which has quickly become one of the defining issues of the 2024 presidential election.

Some of those same lawmakers now hope to introduce their own changes to stem the flow of migrants into the United States, while others want to scrap humanitarian aid provisions and limit foreign aid to weapons and supplies.

If the Senate approves it, it will go to the House of Representatives, where Republicans have a slim majority. Congress has already rejected a separate aid bill for Israel. Congressional Speaker Mike Johnson has hinted that he could split the aid into separate bills. “I made it very clear that these issues should be dealt with separately,” Johnson said last week.

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

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

While some immediately questioned whether the alleged conversation took place, Trump continued: “One of the presidents of a great country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and Russia attacks us, are we going to protect you?’ “”

“I said to him, ‘Don’t you pay, defaulter?'” No, I won’t defend them. In fact, I 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 commit to spending 2% of GDP on defense by 2024.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump alarmed Western allies by warning that the United States, under his leadership, could renege on its commitments to NATO treaties and only stand up to protect countries that meet the alliance’s 2% target.

In 2022, NATO reported that seven of NATO’s 31 member states were now compliant, compared to three in 2014. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 led to additional military spending by some NATO members. .

Trump’s comments come as Ukraine stalls to prevent a 2022 Russian invasion and congressional Republicans are increasingly skeptical of additional aid to the country, which is grappling with a stalemate in counterattacks and a shortage of weapons.

On Saturday, Trump also pointed to the recent failure of congressional legislation aimed at solving the immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border. The law had the support of Democrat Joe Biden, and Trump has vowed to launch a “massive deportation operation” on his first day in the Oval Office if re-elected.

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

The indictments, which include four separate counts in multiple jurisdictions, allege he tried to overturn the results of an election he lost, illegally withheld government secrets after his presidency and illegally paid money to a porn actress he claims he had sex with. With Trump.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Source: El Diario

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