Last night, Republican Party leader Donald Trump once again proved he stands shoulder to shoulder with Vladimir Putin. When given the opportunity to condemn Putin as evil for his unprovoked attack on Ukraine that has killed and maimed Ukrainians and displaced millions, Trump not only refused to condemn Putin, he instead pivoted to one of his favorite pastimes: attacking our allies in NATO.
Sean Hannity: “I asked you the last time you were on, whether you think this is evil in our time. Do you believe this is evil in our time?”
Donald Trump: “I think in 100 years, people are going to look back, and they’re going to say, how did we stand back, and NATO stand back – which in many ways, I’ve called a paper tiger. Don’t forget, I rebuilt NATO. Because when I became president, the first thing I noticed when I went there for the first meeting was that most of the countries were not paying or were paying far less than they were supposed to … They treated us very badly on trade and we defended them. And we really – if you look at the real numbers, I’ll bet you it’s close to 80%. And I said, you have to pay. And if you don’t pay, we’re not going to defend you.”
This blatant anti-NATO posture is nothing new from Trump, who spent years undermining the alliance, and whose own former National Security Advisor said Trump might have pulled the U.S. out of NATO altogether if he had won a second term.
Washington Examiner: “Trump also highlighted the strong-arming he engaged in to convince NATO countries to increase their defense budgets. The former president conceded that he essentially threatened to ignore the treaty’s Article 5 commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all.”
Washington Post: “Bolton says Trump might have pulled the U.S. out of NATO if he had been reelected”
Washington Post: “As president, Trump claimed he supported NATO, but he regularly attacked other countries for not paying enough, and plenty of reporting indicates he wanted the United States to exit the alliance altogether in his second term.”
CNN: “Trump administration to cut its financial contribution to NATO”
But Donald Trump isn’t alone. The Republican Party has a growing anti-NATO problem, as nearly a third of House Republicans voted against a resolution supporting NATO, and Josh Hawley urged President Biden to drop support for Ukraine’s future membership in the alliance.
Washington Post: “Just last week, more than 30 percent of House Republicans voted against a symbolic measure reaffirming support for NATO. Their reasons were varied and often not totally apparent, but it followed from years of the GOP tilting toward NATO skepticism — with some not-so-gentle nudging from Trump.”
Insider: “63 Republicans vote against resolution expressing support for NATO”
Axios: “Exclusive: Hawley calls on Biden to drop support for Ukraine membership in NATO”
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