At a rally in South Carolina, former President Donald Trump stirred controversy by suggesting that the United States should encourage Russian aggression towards NATO members who fail to meet their financial obligations to the alliance.
Speaking to a crowd of supporters, Trump recounted a hypothetical scenario where he allegedly told a NATO leader that if their country did not fulfill its financial commitments, he would not come to their defense, but rather “encourage” Russia to “do whatever they want.”
“I said: ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’… ‘No I would not protect you, in fact I would encourage them to do whatever they want. You gotta pay,'” Trump stated, recalling his response to the leader’s query about U.S. support in the event of a Russian attack.
The White House condemned Trump’s remarks, calling them “appalling and unhinged.” A spokesperson emphasized that such statements not only jeopardize American national security but also undermine global stability and the domestic economy.
Trump’s stance on NATO has long been contentious, with criticism directed at what he perceives as an unequal financial burden on the United States. Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 occurring after Trump left office, he has consistently questioned the amount of U.S. aid provided to Ukraine, a non-NATO member.
Furthermore, tensions have escalated in Congress, where Republican lawmakers have blocked new funding for Ukraine, citing demands for stricter measures to curb immigration along the U.S. southern border. Trump celebrated this obstruction during his rally, labeling President Biden’s proposals as “disastrous.”
As Trump positions himself as a frontrunner for the Republican candidacy in the upcoming presidential election, his controversial remarks continue to shape the political landscape, raising concerns about the future of U.S. foreign policy and international relations.