Trump Threatens: Would encourage Russia to Attach NATO Allys
Speaking at a rally in Conway, South Carolina, Trump recounted a story he has told before about an unidentified NATO member who confronted him over his threat not to defend members who fail to meet the trans-Atlantic alliance's defense spending targets.
The White House has criticized former US President Donald Trump for his remarks during a rally in Conway, South Carolina, where he said he would "encourage" Russia to attack any of the US's NATO allies who don't pay bills. Trump also said that he once told a leader that he would not protect a nation that has failed to pay its bills and would ask them to "do whatever the hell they want." The White House called his remarks "appalling and unhinged." Trump made the statements ahead of the state's Republican presidential preference primary on February 24.
During the rally, Trump shared that he had remarked about Russia during a meeting of leaders of NATO countries. He shared that the leader of a "big country" posed a hypothetical scenario wherein he failed to meet financial commitments to NATO and faced aggression from Moscow. Trump mentioned that the leader in question asked whether the US would intervene to support his country in such a situation, which led Trump to deliver a sharp reprimand.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates said that Trump was "encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes" and that his statement "endangers American national security, global stability, and our economy at home." Trump has consistently voiced criticism of NATO, highlighting what he perceives as an undue financial strain on the United States to ensure the defense of 30 other nations.
In 2022, following Trump's departure from office, Russia initiated a comprehensive invasion of Ukraine. Since then, Trump has lamented the substantial financial aid provided by the US to Ukraine, despite its non-membership in NATO. As of 2022, seven out of the current 31 NATO member countries were fulfilling that obligation, a rise from three in 2014.
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