Trump Under Fire for NATO Comments

( – Former President Donald Trump is under fire for stating that he would allow Russia to invade American allies if they didn’t “pay their bills.” Trump made the remarks at a South Carolina rally and was called out by Democrats, some of whom accused him of selling out the United States.

At the rally, Trump said he talked with a NATO head of state – whom he did not name. He recounted a conversation in which the head of state asked if America would still defend countries who had not paid sufficient amounts into the NATO pot. “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want,” was Mr. Trump’s reply.

One of the first to condemn the remarks on Twitter was Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who wrote that Trump is more concerned with appeasing Russian President Putin than protecting America’s allies.

Some European leaders reacted by encouraging more unity on that continent, with Polish Prime Minister and EU devotee Donald Tusk calling on French President Emmanuel Macron to deepen defense ties across Europe. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s President, called Trump’s comments “irresponsible” and helpful to Russia.

The UK’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron similarly said the former US President’s remarks were “unhelpful” but supported Trump somewhat by adding that all NATO nations should pay their fair share.

The issue centers around the 2% of GDP that NATO countries are encouraged to pay for combined defense. The amount is not contractual, however, and acts as guidance only. Nevertheless, many countries do not meet it, and last year, only eleven paid 2% or more. These were Poland, which contributed the largest percentage, followed by the United States, Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, the UK, and Slovenia. France paid 1.9%, Germany 1.57%, Italy 1.46%, and Canada 1.38%.

Most countries that paid over 2% are geographically close to Russia or potentially impacted by the Ukraine war.

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