– Trump will not protect defaulting NATO partners from Russia
At a campaign event, Donald Trump revealed that he was willing to give up defense of non-paying NATO members — and to aggressively encourage Russia to do so. The White House's reaction was quick.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he will not grant protection from Russia to NATO partners who do not meet their financial obligations. The former US president said this on Saturday during an election event in the US state of South Carolina.
Trump said that “the president of a great country” once asked him whether the United States would still protect this country from Russia even if it did not pay for defense. He replied: “No, I will not protect you.” What's more, it would “encourage Russia to do whatever the hell it wants.” It was not clear whether such a conversation had ever taken place between Trump and a head of state, because the Republican also said: “Let's assume it did happen.”
US President Joe Biden's White House reacted immediately. “Encouraging attacks by a murderous regime on our closest allies is outrageous and completely insane,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement on Saturday. “It puts U.S. national security, global stability, and our domestic economy at risk.”
The Allies increased defense spending
During a recent visit to Washington, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded to concerns that the outcome of the US presidential election could jeopardize NATO's future. Stoltenberg told CNN at the end of last January that he worked with Trump for four years and listened to him carefully. Trump's main criticism has been that allies are spending too little on NATO. They have dramatically increased their defense spending in recent years.
Trump, who ruled the White House from 2017 to 2021, has repeatedly threatened to withdraw the United States from the defense alliance. The Republican wants to be re-elected as president next November and is fighting for his candidacy in his party's primary elections. Among other things, he declares his desire to continue the fundamental reassessment of NATO.
At the campaign rally in South Carolina, Trump also announced again that he would deport people on a large scale. Irregular immigration is one of the dominant issues in the US election campaign. The argument frequently used by the Republican side is that taxpayer money should not be spent protecting other countries – such as Ukraine – but rather on protecting their borders.