Controversy Erupts Over Trump’s Comments Says He’d Let Russia Do ‘Whatever the Hell They Want’ to NATO Countries That Don’t Pay Enough

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday he would tell Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” if it attacked a NATO member that did not pay enough for defense.

Speaking to supporters at a rally in South Carolina, Trump described a discussion from his time in office with the leader of a “big country” who inquired about their protection if Russia struck.

Trump claimed he told the leader that the US government would not safeguard the bloc if they did not contribute their fair amount to defense spending.

“I asked, ‘You didn’t pay? “You’re a delinquent?” Trump recalled. “I wouldn’t defend you. Indeed, I would urge them to do whatever the hell they want. You’ve got to pay. “You need to pay your bills,” he stressed.

The statements will do little to alleviate European fears about U.S. reliability, with military aid to Ukraine being held up in Congress and the front-runner for the Republican nominee reaffirming his long-held mistrust of America’s historical promises to its allies.

It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his conflict in Ukraine, and several North Atlantic Treaty Organization members have expressed fear that Russia may attempt to invade other countries next.

The alliance was founded in 1949 to provide a collective defense against the Soviet Union. Article 5 of the pact specifies that any attack on one ally is considered an attack on all.

Trump has long complained about NATO and sparred with member state leaders, purportedly threatening to withdraw the US from the alliance over expectations that member countries pay 2% of their GDP on military.

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has worked to reassure NATO of the United States’ commitment to the alliance, in sharp contrast to his Republican predecessor.

Last month, Biden signed a $886 billion defense package that prohibits a president from unilaterally withdrawing from NATO, potentially undermining Trump’s 2024 campaign commitment to “fundamentally” re-evaluate “NATO’s purpose and mission.”

The White House described Trump’s recent remarks as “appalling and unhinged.”

“Encouraging murderous regimes to invade our closest allies is appalling and unhinged — and it endangers American national security, global stability, and our domestic economy,” spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement Saturday night.

“Rather than calling for wars and promoting deranged chaos, President Biden will continue to bolster American leadership and stand up for our national security interests — not against them,” he said in a statement.

According to a survey released last year, only 11 of the then-30 member nations spent at least 2% of their GDP on military. However, the sum is a target rather than a necessity, and several NATO countries have increased their military spending in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland was granted NATO membership last year, while Sweden is currently in the process of joining. Denmark’s military minister warned on Friday that a fresh danger assessment based on new intelligence suggests that Russia could attack a NATO country within three to five years.

Aside from the NATO comment, Trump boasted on Saturday about the recent failure to pass a bipartisan border agreement.

“We smashed crooked Joe Biden’s terrible border agreement. “Mike Johnson did an excellent job,” Trump stated, referring to the Republican House leader and his opposition to the plan.

It was generally believed that Trump urged his party to vote against the legislation in the hopes of using the southern border crisis as a political tool to win reelection in November.

However, the clash in Washington has stalled further military supplies to Ukraine, impeding Kyiv’s fight against Kremlin forces at a critical juncture on the battlefield.

His professed ambivalence toward Russian aggression has long raised fears in Ukraine and elsewhere about what a second Trump presidency would entail for the continent.

A high-level European Union official stated last month that while Trump was in power, he informed top European officials that the US would never support Europe if it was attacked.

“The real problem is whether Trump is looking to stabilize onto a rebalanced relationship, but one in which we remain trusted allies regardless, or whether this is directional, i.e., part of a steady and deliberate erosion of our relationship, with rupture as the ultimate destination,” said Edward Hunter Christie, a former NATO official and senior research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

“It would be more reasonable to assume that Trump is preparing the ground for abandoning Europe and for striking deals with Russia over our heads,” he wrote in a piece for X on Saturday.


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