- Donald Trump suggested Russia could “do whatever it wants” to NATO members that don’t pay their annual dues at a campaign rally on Saturday.
- The former president was widely ridiculed for his “dangerous” comments
- Julianne Smith, the US ambassador to NATO, criticized Trump for his comments
Donald Trump’s latest threat to NATO is irrational and endangers American troops and allies, US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said Tuesday.
The former president sparked a firestorm after suggesting at a campaign rally on Saturday that Russia could “do whatever it wanted” to NATO members that don’t pay their annual dues, which represent two percent of GDP per country.
Trump was criticizing the 20 NATO member countries that failed to meet the two percent threshold required by the alliance. Only 11 countries paid the two percent of GDP financing requirement required in 2023.
“Encouraging the Kremlin to attack NATO territory or a NATO ally puts American soldiers and allied soldiers at greater risk,” Julianne Smith said in an interview with Bloomberg today.
“Statements like this are irrational, irresponsible and downright dangerous,” he continued.
US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith called Trump’s comments about the alliance “dangerous” and that his comments endanger US and allied soldiers.
Former President Donald Trump suggested to a crowd in South Carolina that Russia “could do whatever it wanted” to NATO countries that don’t spend enough on defense.
Trump told the crowd Saturday that the president of a NATO country approached him when he was in office and asked if the United States would continue to protect the country if it did not pay the two percent threshold.
‘No, I wouldn’t protect you, in fact I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever they want, you have to pay! You have to pay your bills,’ Trump said as he received applause from the crowd.
Meanwhile, the United States spent $860 billion on defense spending in 2023, contributing 3.49 percent of its GDP to military initiatives.
Outside the rally, Trump was criticized for his comments.
The White House quickly condemned the former president’s comments, calling them “appalling and deranged” and arguing that they “promoted dangerous chaos.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the comments should disqualify Trump from office.
“Donald Trump is not really qualified to be president if he does not understand the importance of NATO,” Blumenthal told DailyMail.com.
Trump’s comments about NATO “are outrageous, but unfortunately not surprising,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.
“Supporting Russia,” Warnock continued, “is shocking beyond expression.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also responded in a statement released Sunday.
“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the United States, and puts American and European soldiers at greater risk,” he said.
‘NATO remains ready and able to defend all allies. “Any attack on NATO will receive a united and forceful response.”
“I hope that regardless of who wins the presidential election, the United States will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”
Contrary to what the former president claims, Smith affirmed that no NATO country has outstanding dues.
‘No one here within the NATO alliance is a criminal. There are no overdue debts of any kind.
“I am absolutely confident that we will continue to see strong US support for this alliance in the future,” she continued.