At a campaign event in Conway, South Carolina, on Saturday, former President Donald Trump, who is eyeing the presidency in 2024 as the Republican frontrunner, said that he would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want,” including targeting NATO members that fail to fulfill their financial commitments.
Trump's remarks represent his clearest signal yet that he does not plan to uphold NATO's commitment to defend allies in the event of Russian aggression should he secure reelection.
“NATO was busted until I came along,” Trump said at the rally. “I said, ‘Everybody’s gonna pay.’ They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay, are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They couldn’t believe the answer.”
Trump said “one of the presidents of a big country” at one point asked him whether the U.S. would still defend the country if they were invaded by Russia even if they “don’t pay.”
In response on Sunday, the White House slammed Trump's comments as "appalling and unhinged" while highlighting the gravity of Trump's suggestion of aggression toward America's NATO allies, reported CNN.
“President Biden has restored our alliances and made us stronger in the world because he knows every commander in chief’s first responsibility is to keep the American people safe and hold true to the values that unite us … Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged — and it endangers American national security, global stability, and our economy at home,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.
Trump's assertion that he would not defend "delinquent" countries within NATO against Russian aggression underscores a stark departure from traditional U.S. foreign policy.
This stance has alarmed many, raising concerns about the implications for global security and the integrity of the NATO alliance, which relies on mutual defense commitments.
Amidst ongoing tensions in Ukraine and varying defense spending levels by NATO members, Trump's remarks have reignited debate over the alliance's future and the U.S.'s commitment to its partners.
This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.
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