Donald Trump's NATO comment sparks furious backlash: 'Unbridled'

The directive did not cut funding to the alliance after former President Donald Trump suggested he would “encourage” Russia to attack NATO countries.

During a rally in South Carolina on Saturday, Trump recalled a conversation with an unnamed politician he described as “one of the presidents of a great country.”

The Republican presidential nominee said the anonymous leader asked if the United States would defend a NATO nation if Russia attacked.

“I said, 'You didn't pay, are you guilty?'” Trump said at the rally on Saturday. “Really, I would encourage them to do whatever they want. You have to pay. You must pay your dues.”

A fundamental principle of NATO is its Article 5, which states that an armed attack on an Allied country is considered an attack against all member states. Member states have a defense-pending target of roughly 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP), although this is a guideline and many countries have not reached this limit despite increased spending after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The White House condemned the former president's comments as “horrendous and unhinged.”

Donald Trump on February 10, 2024 in Conway, South Carolina. The former president has sparked a fierce backlash after he suggested he would “encourage” Russia to attack NATO countries that do not make financial contributions to NATO countries.


Win McNamee/Getty Images

“The promotion of invasions by murderous regimes of our closest allies is appalling and unconscionable — it endangers US national security, global stability and our economy at home,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said.

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The United States is a significant partner in NATO, with Washington's defense spending representing two-thirds of its military spending, according to the alliance's reports.

“However, this is not the amount that the United States contributes to NATO's operational drive, which is shared with all Allies in accordance with the common financial policy,” the alliance said.

Newsweek Trump's campaign team has returned a written request for comment.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the alliance and discussed withdrawing the U.S. from NATO while in office, senior administration officials said. The New York Times In 2019.

Suggestions that the US might pull out of the alliance or that an attack on the NATO country would go unanswered could undermine its credibility in the face of fractured relations with Russia after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

NATO is “the biggest and most important it has ever been,” Bates said in a statement.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said Trump's comments “would be enough to do.” [former Republican President Ronald] Reagan is sick,” adding: “He's too interested in ingratiating himself and pleasing himself [Russian President Vladimir] Putin than to protect our allies”

“Trump doesn't understand NATO or Russia, and he's putting all of Europe at risk with this incredibly dumb statement,” retired US Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who served as head of US Army Europe, posted on social media. Platform X, formerly Twitter.

Trump still doesn't understand how NATO works. The famous journalist and historian wrote. Anne Applebaum. “A Call to Expand the War.”

Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine after Trump left office, but he has criticized Washington's support for Kiev against Moscow's forces. Supporters of Ukraine's war effort are more concerned about what a second Trump presidency could mean for Kyiv if it wins presidential elections later this year.

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According to Defense Department documents, the United States has sent more than $44 billion in defense aid to Ukraine since February 2022. Additional aid to Ukraine has been stalled in Congress as Republicans lobby for tighter border controls in the southern United States.