The former President’s comments drew strong backlash, with Stoltenberg saying in a statement that Trump’s attack could endanger both civilians and troops…reports Asian Lite News
Donald Trump has drawn the ire of the NATO countries with its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg alleging that the former US President is undermining the future of the organisation with his recent campaign rally statement to a member country — “you don’t pay, we don’t protect you”.
Stoltenberg issued a warning to the leaders around the world after Trump stirred fears about the future of NATO at a campaign stop on Saturday. Trump was critical of certain countries in NATO which reportedly did not meet the goals for which the organisation was set up, media reports said.
He told a South Carolina rally that countries in the alliance were expected to spend at least 2 per cent of their GDP on defence. Trump specifically recalled a conversation he claims to have had with the President of a country when he was in office, saying, “One of the Presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’”
“You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent,” Trump had asked.
He said, “Yes, let’s say that happened.”
“No, I would not protect you,” Trump said, adding: “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”
The former President’s comments drew strong backlash, with Stoltenberg saying in a statement that Trump’s attack could endanger both civilians and troops.
“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” Stoltenberg said in the statement, adding, “I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election, the US will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”
NATO’s charter requires members to come to the aid of others if they are attacked.
Trump’s latest comments also drew criticism from within America’s borders.
President Joe Biden in a statement released by his reelection campaign said: “If my opponent, Donald Trump, is able to regain power, he is making it clear as day that he will abandon our NATO allies if Russia attacks them and allow Russia to ‘do whatever the hell they want’ with them.”
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who is running against Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, called NATO “a success story for the last 75 years”.
“Now, we do want NATO allies to pull their weight. But there are ways you can do that without sitting there and telling Russia, have your way with these countries,” Haley told CBS.